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! miwiKi 



GOMMOD! 

INDUSTRIE 







THE MASTER 
MUSIC IAN S 

WHO RECORD EXCLUSIVELY FOR 

COLUMBIA RECORDS 

INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING 

Dame CLARA BUTT 
and KENNERLEY RUMFORD 

Sir HENRY J. WOOD 
Conducting the NEW QUEEN'S 

HALL ORCHESTRA 

(Proprietors - Chappell & Co., Ltd.) 

HAMILTON HARTY 

Conducting the 

HALLE ORCHESTRA 

PACHMANN (Piano) 

YSAYE (Violin) CASALS ('Cello) 

BUSONI (Piano) 

ELSA STRALIA 

FRANK MULLINGS 

LONDON STRING QUARTET, 

etc., etc. 

For Complete List, see Current 
Catalogue 

Columbia Records lead in their more faithful 
tone, in the many unique works they offer, 
in the constant additions of great artistes, 
in the ever-changing variety, and in the 
fact that THEY WEAR TWICE AS LONG ! 

Ask your dealer for Newest Lists. 

Columbia 4l 



(1466E) 



WHO'S WHO 

IN THE 

THEATRE 

A biographical Record of 
the contemporary stage 

FOURTH EDITION 

Edited by JOHN PARKER 

THIS popular work consists of 

(1) A universal biographical dictionary of the more 

prominent personages connected with the con- 
temporary stage, including Managers, Dramatists, 
Musical Composers, Critics, as well as Artists. 

(2) A complete list of plays which have had runs of 

more than one hundred performances on the 
London Stage. 

(3) A Calendar of notable theatrical events. 

(4) Mr. J. M. Bulloch's Genealogical Tables of 

Theatrical Families. 

(5) An exhaustive dramatical and musical obituary. 

(6) Full particulars of the principal theatres in 

London, Paris, New York, etc. 

A The book has been most carefully p 

UVCl compiled, and is acknowledged to if ICC 

be the most comprehensive reposi- 

Sim tor Y of theatrical data in exist- 

l,tJUU ence The new edition has been 

brought thoroughly up to date. 
Pd6S pun particulars, post jree. 



The . . . Who's Who in the Theatre ' 

DAILY MAIL says : is undoubtedly the best and 
most useful directory of the 
stage ever compiled." 

SIR ISAAC PITMAN & SONS, LTD. 
Parker St., Kingsway, London, W.G.2 



L. E. JACCARD 



19-21 and 23 
Clerkenwell Road 
LONDON, E.C.I 



CONTRACTOR 

TO H.M. AND 

UNITED STATES 

GOVERNMENTS 



Manufacturer & Importer for 
the Talking Machine Trade 



Complete Gramophones, also Sound-boxes, Tone-arms 
Needles and Accessories 




Large Stock of the best British and | 
Swiss Motors 



Manufacturer of the largest selection of the very 
best quality only of Mainsprings for Gramophones i 

illllllllllllllllllllll IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIllllllilllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllMllllllllirr 



I 



1 



THE EDISON BELL (All British) 

HANDEPHON 



BRITAIN'S 

BEST PORTABLE 

GRAMOPHONE 



Plays any kind 
of Record 

Revised Price 

4:10:0 




Weight 12 Ibs. 

Tone-arm automatically lowers into Cabinet as lid is closed 
NO LOOSE PARTS TO RATTLE 

The " HANDEPHON " is entirely British 
made motor, tone-arm, sound-box, cabinet, 
and every other part. Remember the name 
of EDISON BELL is the highest guarantee. 
This model is the acme of portability and com- 
pactness. When closed looks no bigger than 
an attache case. 

ORDER THE " HANDBPHON FROM YOUR DEALER 

and at the same time ask for Catalogues of Edison 
Bell "Velvet Face," "Winner," and "Bell" Records 

| : | 

Use " Chromic " Needles on all your 
Records. Price 1/3 per Box of 100. 
Each Point Plays 10 Records. 



Manufacturers and Patentees: 
J. E. Hough, Ltd., Edison Bell Works, London, S.E.I 5 







1 (1466E) 



EDISON BELL RECORDS 
are made in 3 kinds 
each distinct from the others 



1 



2 



VELVET FACE (V.F.) 

Records cater for a discriminating music -loving 
public. Velvet Face discs are manufactured from 
a special material which ensures for them an absolutely 
silent surface. No foreign, harsh, or grating sounds are 
emitted from the V.F. Record. Entirely British made 
(like all other products backed by the name Edison Bell), 
the V.F. is made in two sizes 10 inch at 3/6 double-sided, 
and 12 inch at 5/6 double -sided. Velvet Face records are 
the sensation of the year everybody is talking about them. 
You have never heard your gramophone at its best unless 
you have played V.F. records on it. 

WINNER RECORDS 

are of a more popular nature. Not everybody 
wants classic music all the time. Many grarno- 
phonists prefer a wholesome leavening of present-day music. 
The ditties from the halls, the up-to-date dances, the 
breeziest band numbers, and other favourite melodies. 
The double -sided Winner Record retailing at the uniform 
price of 2/6 perfectly supplies this enormous demand. The 
Catalogue of 2,000 Winner Records is constantly kept 
abreast of the times, and includes all the best and brightest 
in song, band, and dance selections. ALL THE LATEST 
HITS ARE ISSUED ON WINNERS. 

BELL RECORDS 

are especially designed for the children, though 
they are not altogether without interest for the 
adult. The little Bell Record, which measures 5| inches 
in diameter, retails at 1/3, and is also double-sided. It is 
made with the same exacting care which characterizes the 
production of the Winner Record, the specific difference 
being that the Bell is smaller than the Winner and that the 
records have more interest fur juveniles generally. 

EDISON BELL RECORDS ARE ENTIRELY BRITISH MADE 
FULL CATALOGUE FROM ALL THE LEADING DEALERS 

Sole Manufacturers : 
J. E. Hough, Ltd., Edison Bell Works, London, S.E.15 



3 



THE TALKING MACHINE 
INDUSTRY 



PITMAN'S 

COMMON COMMODITIES 
AND INDUSTRIES SERIES 

Each book in crown 8vo, illustrated, 3 - net 



TEA. By A. IBBETSON 
COFFEE. By B. B. KEABLE 
SUGAR. By GEO. MARTINEAU 
OILS. By C. AINSWORTH MITCHELL 
WHEAT. By ANDREW MILLAR 
RUBBER. By C. BEADLE and H. P. 

STEVENS 

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KNITTED FABRICS. By J. CHAM- 
BERLAIN and J. H. QUILTER 
CLAYS. By ALFRED S. SEARLE 
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SOAP By W. A. SIMMONS 
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HORACE WYATT 
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SILVER. By BENJAMIN WHITE 
CARPETS. By REGINALD S. BRINTON 
PAINTS AND VARNISHES. By 

A. S. JENNINGS 

CORDAGE AND CORDAGE HEMP. 

By T. WOODHOUSE and P. KILGOUR 

ACIDS AND ALKALIS. By G. H. J. 

ELECTRICITY*. By R. E. NEALE 
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BUTTER AND CHEESE. By C. W. 

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THE BRITISH CORN TRADE. By 

A. BARKER 

LEAD. By J. A. SMYTHE 
ENGRAVING: By T. W. LASCELLES 
STONES AND QUARRIES. By J. 

ALLEN HOWE 



EXPLOSIVES. By S. I. LEVY 
THE CLOTHING INDUSTRY. By 

B. W. POOLE 
TELEGRAPHY, TELEPHONY, AND 

WERELESS. By J. POOLE 
PERFUMERY. By E. J. PARRY 
THE ELECTRIC LAMP INDUSTRY. 

By G. ARNCLIFFE PERCIVAL 
ICE AND COLD STORAGE. By B. H. 

SPRINGETT 

GLOVES. By B. E. ELLIS 
JUTE. By T. WOODHOUSE and 

P. KILGOUR 
DRUGS IN COMMERCE. By J. 

HUMPHREY 
THE FILM INDUSTRY. By 

DAVIDSON BOUGHEY 
CYCLE INDUSTRY. By W. GREW 
SULPHUR. By HAROLD A. AUDEN 
TEXTILE BLEACHING. By 

ALEC B. STEVEN 
WINE. By ANDRE L. SIMON 
IRONFOUNDING. By B. WHITELEY 
COTTON SPINNING. By A. S. WADE 
ALCOHOL. By C. SIMMONDS 
CONCRETE AND REINFORCED CON- 
CRETE. By W. N. TWELVETREES 
SPONGES. By E. J. J. CRESSWELL 
WALL PAPER. By G. WHITELEY 

CLOCKS AND WATCHES. By G. L. 

OVERTON 

ANTHRACITE. By A. L. SUMMERS 
INCANDESCENT LIGHTING. By 

S. I. LEVY 
THE FISHING INDUSTRY. By 

W. E. GIBBS 
OIL FOR POWER PURPOSES. By 

S. H. NORTH 

STARCH. By H. A. AUDEN 
TALKING MACHINES. By O. 

MITCHELL 

NICKEL. By B. H. WHITE 
PLAYER PIANO. By D. M. WILSON 
INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINES. 

By J. OKILL 
DYES. By A. J. HALL 
MOTOR BOATS. By F. STRICKLAND 
VELVET. By J. H. COOKE 
THE STRAW HAT INDUSTRY. By 

H. INWARDS 

BRUSHES. By W. KIDDIER 
PATENT FUELS. By J. A. GREENE 

and F. MOLLWO PERKIN 
FURS. By J. C. SACHS 



41 Smooth as Silk " 

For clearness of tone, perfect reproduction, 

and to lengthen the life of your Records 

WE RECOMMEND YOU TO USE 

EDISON BELL 

CHROMIC 
NEEDLES 



Gold-Plated 



Per Box IFIW H Per Box 

of 100 11 RLrigliii ofl 

Needles \lBIEMH W Needles 
m2"|*J*|222J!l,5' 

Semi-Permanent, Gold-Plated 




CHROMIC NEEDLES are manufactured of 
special material after exhaustive experiments. 
They have been subjected to the most critical 
tests, and we confidently assert they are the 
finest Gramophone Needles in the world. Each 
needle can be used for 10 records, and one box 
of 100 Chromic Needles will play 1,000 records 



EACH NEEDLE PLAYS TEN RECORDS 



TO BE OBTAINED FROM ALL THE BEST DEALERS 



T 
TV*. 



PITMAN'S COMMON COMMODITIES 
AND INDUSTRIES 

THE 

TALKING MACHINE 
INDUSTRY 

BY 

OGILVIE MITCHELL 



ASSOCIATE EDITOR AND REVIEWER 
"TALKING MACHINE NEWS " 





LONDON 

SIR ISAAC PITMAN & SONS, LTD. 
PARKER STREET, KINGSWAY, W.C.2 

BATH, MELBOURNE, TORONTO, NEW YORK 



HisMasterS\blce 




The Symbol 

if 
Supremacy 

On a Gramophone 

It guarantees a musical instrument of the 
highest grade, beautifully designed and 
perfectly finished in every part. 

On a Record 

It stands for the best in music of every 
variety. It stands for the best artistes 
of every kind, and for the best material 
in the record. 



The Gramophone Co., Ltd. 

363=367 Oxford Street, London, W.I 



PREFACE 

IN writing this little book, I have endeavoured, as far 
as possible, to avoid all technicalities and abstruse 
phraseology. In short, my aim has been to make it 
" understanded of the people." For guidance, I have 
dipped liberally into my friend Mr. Henry Seymour's 
illuminating volume entitled The Reproduction of Sound, 
the most valuable work on the subject I know. Also, 
I have delved into Tyndall's Lectures on Sound, and 
have, of course, rummaged through the Encyclopaedia 
Britannica. Mainly, however, I have obtained my 
information from back numbers of The Talking Machine 
News, the oldest paper entirely devoted to the trade in 
the world. It is now entering upon the twentieth year 
of its existence, and still flourishes. Nor must I fail to 
acknowledge my indebtedness to Mr. Chas. E. Timms, 
the indefatigable secretary of the Association of Gramo- 
phone and Musical Instrument Manufacturers and 
Wholesale Dealers, for his admirable account of the 
foundation, rise and progress of his association ; a most 
worthy contribution. 

OGILVIE MITCHELL. 

1 MITRE COURT, 

FLEET STREET, E.C.4. 



ix 



HisMaster&Vblce 




The best music 
recorded by the 
greatest Artistes can 
only be obtained on 

"His 
Master's 

Voice" 

Gramophone Records 



The Gramophone Co., Ltd. 

363=367 Oxford Street, London, W.I 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. PAGE 

PREFACE . ix 

I. A HISTORICAL SURVEY .... 1 

II. THE SOUND WAVE AND ITS CAPTURE . . 10 

III. HOW THE TALKING MACHINE WAS BROUGHT 

TO ENGLAND ..... 22 

IV. THE DISC MACHINE ..... 31 
V. MOTORS, SOUND BOXES, HORNS, ETC. . . 43 

VI. HOW GRAMOPHONE RECORDS ARE MADE . 62 

VII. THE BIG MANUFACTURING COMPANIES . 72 

VIII. ARTISTS WHO MAKE RECORDS ... 84 

IX. GRAMOPHONE ASSOCIATIONS AND SOCIETIES . 94 

X. THE TALKING MACHINE AS TEACHER . . 103 

APPENDIX . . . . . .112 

INDEX 118 



XI 




realism, the beauty of tone, and the 
perfect clearness of the " Cliftophone " are 
impossible to imagine unless you have actually 
heard it. The " Cliftophone " plays ordinary 
gramophone records, but with extraordinary 
faithfulness to the original performance. 

LEFF POUISHNOFF (the celebrated pianist)." I was 
simply astounded. . . . Your Cliftophone was a real 
delight to hear, and I should like to congratulate you on the 
benefit you will confer on music-lovers, all of whom will 
certainly desire to possess one. . . . The illusion of reality 
was there." 

EUGENE GOOSSENS (the talented composer and conduc- 
tor). " .... Amazed and delighted with your wonderful 
invention. For sheer volume and quality of tone the 
' Cliftophone ' is a revelation." 

FRANK BROADBENT (the eminent voice trainer). " I 
want to congratulate you on an immense stride in the 
evolution of sound reproducers. For the first time I have 
heard beauty of vocal tone, faithfully reproduced, added 
to an infinitely clearer enunciation of the words." 

Deferred Payments arranged to suit every purchaser, 

A cordial invitation is extended to Music Lovers to 
hear personally the beauties of the " Cliftophone." 
If unable to call write for illustrated Booklet " D." 



THE CHAPPELL PIANO COMPANY, LTD. 

PIANOFORTE AND GRAMOPHONE SALONS, 

50 NEW BOND ST., LONDON, W.i 

TELEPHONE : MAYFAIR 3940. 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



THE FIRST TALKING MACHINE IN THE WORLD Frontispiece 

PAGE 

SOUND WAVES MAGNIFIED . . . . .11 

SOUND WAVES MAGNIFIED . . . . .12 

MADAME GALLI-CURCI ...... 20 

AN ALGRAPHONE ....... 33 

" HIS MASTER'S VOICE " PORTABLE GRAMOPHONE . 34 
SINGLE SPRING MOTOR WITH TURNTABLE . . 45 

THE TRIPLE SPRING MOTOR UNIT OF A COLUMBIA 
INSTRUMENT ....... 46 

A TYPICAL SOUND BOX ...... 48 

THE EXHIBITION SOUND BOX ..... 50 

A TYPICAL TABLE GRAND MODEL OF THE COLUMBIA 
GRAFONOLA ....... 54 

UNUSED CHROMIC NEEDLE RUNNING IN GROOVE . 57 
NEEDLES SHOWING WEAR BY CONTACT WITH RECORD 58 

SIR HENRY J. WOOD CONDUCTING THE NEW QUEEN'S 
HALL ORCHESTRA FOR A COLUMBIA RECORD . 64 

MADAME ADELINA PATTI 85 

CARICATURE OF CARUSO MAKING A RECORD, DRAWN 
BY HIMSELF ....... 87 

DAME NELLIE MELBA ...... 88 

" HIS MASTER'S VOICE " GRAMOPHONE FOR SCHOOLS . 106 



Kill 



Let your Gramophone play 
continuously without attention 




THE WORLD RECORD 
CONTROLLER 

can Jbe fixed to any make of machine. It 
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The Controller slides off instantly for the 
playing of ordinary records. 

Write for Illustrated Booklet 

World Record, Ltd. 

Cromwell Works, Mortlake 

London, S.W.14 

West End Showrooms : 2 Piccadilly Arcade, London, W.I 



THE TALKING MACHINE 
INDUSTRY 



CHAPTER I 

A HISTORICAL SURVEY 

TALKING machine is by no means an idea] name for an 
invention which is now recognized by the most com- 
petent authorities as a true musical instrument. It 
is, however, the most comprehensive term which has yet 
been found, for it embraces every type of apparatus 
that has, up to now, been employed in the reproduction 
of sound. Talking, indeed, is but a minor function of 
the mechanism used at present, but it is not at all 
improbable that the future will wicness wider develop- 
ments in an educational direction which will render this 
somewhat incongruous name more applicable. In the 
United States of America the talking machine has been 
for some years an important factor in the education of 
the young. There is scarcely a school from Maine to 
New Orleans or from New York to San Francisco into 
which the gramophone or phonograph has not been 
introduced. Later, in its proper place in our handbook, 
this aspect of the invention will be discussed. 

In the earliest ages primitive man was imbued with 
the notion that inanimate objects could at times give 
forth vocal utterance, and among remote savage tribes 
at the present day the belief still holds good. By its 
means the medicine man and the witch doctor impose 
upon the less astute members of the community. In 
like manner the sibyls and soothsayers of antiquity 

1 



2 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

duped the populace. The world- old spurious tales of 
the voices of the gods, commanding and threatening 
from rocks, caverns and waterfalls, were foisted upon 
the believers, and the cunning ones waxed fat and 
prosperous. The belief in such manifestations 
was universal, and the truth of them accepted as 
incontrovertible. 

There is no record that the Sphinx ever spoke, but 
modern excavations in the interior of that strange 
monument of the past have revealed that, from a cham- 
ber in the head, it might have been quite possible for 
the priests to have answered the questions put by an 
expectant multitude by means of a megaphone or some 
such sound amplifying contrivance. 

From that mysterious land of Egypt comes the first 
corroborated account of vocal sound issuing from a 
thing without life. More than 1,500 years before the 
beginning of the Christian era there existed an Egyptian 
monarch named Thothmes III, who had a son Amenophis 
III, of. the XVIIIth Dynasty, who ruled from the Nile 
to the Euphrates. Besides being a great ruler, 
Amenophis was a great builder, and founded Luxor, the 
Egyptian Thebes. He also added largely to Karnak. 
Possibly he might be identified with the Memnon, 
Prince of Ethiopia, who went to the aid of the Trojans 
against the Greeks and was slain by Achilles, but this 
is mere speculation, and has nothing to do with our 
survey. At Thebes a mighty temple was erected, 
with twin colossi at the gates carved out of black basalt. 
It is certainly strange that in the Greek heroic story 
Memnon is spoken of as black, and his head after death 
is said to have prophesied, thus giving ground for the 
supposition that the Trojan ally and the Egyptian 
Pharoah were identical ; but again we are straying. 
One of the colossal statues at Thebes has been from 



A HISTORICAL SURVEY 3 

time immemorial denominated Memnon, which would 
possibly be the Greek form of Amenophis, and from the 
head of this statue at dawn issued strange sounds. 
It was not, however, until the Roman occupation of 
Egypt that we get any distinct description of the 
character of the noises. Strabo heard them in company 
with Aelius Gallus and several of his friends, while 
Pausanias says, one would compare the sound more 
nearly to the broken chord of a harp or lute. Juvenal 
and Tacitus also refer to the " vocal Memnon." These 
are all fairly credible authorities, so that we must not 
dismiss the ancient story with a sneer. Our own 
Byron did not, for he sings of " The Ethiop King whose 
statue turns a harper once a day." From the descrip- 
tion by Pausanias we find that the sounds were more 
musical than articulate. The statue, which was 
shattered by an earthquake 27 B.C., was restored 
A.D. 174, but whether the workmen engaged upon 
the restoration removed the vocal mechanism or 
destroyed some portion of the head from which the 
sounds proceeded, will never be known. All that can 
be said is that, since the latter year, the bust has 
maintained a discreet silence. 

Many theories have been advanced to account for 
the sonorous property of old Memnon, but all have 
failed to supply a satisfactory solution. The most 
probable, in our estimation, would be that the early 
morning breeze acted upon some hollow in the head and 
so produced the harp-like twanging which attracted 
the attention of listeners. In restoring the statue 
this hollow may have been blocked up. 

From Egypt to China is a long step, yet, if we are to 
trace things in their proper chronological order, it is to 
the latter country that we must now wing our way. 
The path may be faint and shadowy, and the light 

2 (1466E) 



4 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

but a weak glimmer, yet we shall follow it as faithfully 
as we can. 

The Chinese seem to have developed a totally indepen- 
dent civilization. Cut off as they were by huge mountain 
ranges, vast deserts and wide ocean gulfs from the 
gradually progressive races of Western Asia and the 
Eastern Mediterranean, they set to work to build up 
among themselves a system of culture which differed 
entirely from that of other nations then slowly emerging 
out of the dark. Their language, their customs, their 
religion (Ancestor worship is believed to have been the 
original teaching until Taoism, Confucianism and 
Buddhism arrived) had no connection whatsoever with 
Western evolution. They were the same two thousand 
years ago as they were until Europeans in the middle 
of the last century pierced the bulwarks the Yellow 
Man had erected against the rest of the world. Even 
to the present day the bulk of the population remain 
adverse to foreign interference. Yet, in arts and several 
of the sciences, the Chinese were in early days much in 
advance of the Westerner. They lay claim to having 
had a knowledge of various inventions and discoveries 
long before these became the property of other peoples. 
What wonder, then, that the talking machine, when it 
appeared, was regarded by the Chinaman with his 
inscrutable smile. 

Sir Robert Hart, than whom no Englishman ever 
understood China with greater comprehension, having 
spent the best part of his life there in an official capacity, 
relates the following story. Fifty years before the 
first talking machine was seen in Pekin, he was one day 
in conversation with Kwang Tung, the Governor of 
that city. This Peacock-feather Mandarin was a very 
learned pundit, well versed in all the lore of his coun- 
try, and he informed Sir Robert that an ancient book, 



A HISTORICAL SURVEY 5 

some two thousand years old, contained the record of a 
most curious box. At least a thousand years before the 
book was written a certain Chinese prince was in the 
habit of communicating with another, who lived in a 
district far apart. It was necessary that this correspon- 
dence should be kept secret, so the prince spoke his 
messages into a strange box which he sent by a trusty 
bearer to his distant friend. When this friend opened 
the box, he could actually hear the voice of the prince 
speaking the words that had been originally spoken so 
far away. It must be remembered that the conversa- 
tion between Kwang Tung and Sir Robert Hart took 
place before the talking machine, as we know it, was 
invented. The tale is almost uncanny, but the word of 
Sir Robert is not to be doubted. Had the Chinese 
evolved the secret of the talking machine three thousand 
years before it was dreamt of by Cros or Edison ? 

We must now travel long ages through the misty 
corridors of time before we gain intelligence of any 
further reproduction of vocal sound. In the thirteenth 
century lived Roger Bacon, the famous Franciscan monk, 
He was an Englishman, born in Worcestershire, who 
studied at Oxford, and there can be little doubt he was a 
man far in advance of his age. By his strictures on the 
pretentious ignorance of his fellow monks he incurred 
the bitter hatred of the Church, and was imprisoned for 
fourteen years in France. Many important discoveries 
and inventions are attributed to him, but not all of 
them on a solid basis of fact. Gunpowder, for instance, 
was said to have been invented by him, whereas it 
was known to the Arabs who got it from China, 
before his day. However, with that we have nothing 
to do. 

Among other mechanical contrivances with which 
he has been credited was the construction of a talking 



6 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

machine. It was said to have spoken three words and 
then relapsed into silence, which it could not be induced 
again to break. In those superstitious days it was no 
wonder that he was denounced as having been in league 
with the Evil One, for the devil at that period was given 
a good deal more than his due. We are afraid, however, 
that the story is apocryphal, for the Encyclopaedia 
Britannica tells us that careful research has shown 
that very little in the department of mechanical discovery 
can with accuracy be ascribed to him. So much, then, 
for the Roger Bacon tale. 

Albertus Magnus, Provincial of the Dominicans at 
Cologne in the thirteenth century, is also credited with 
the construction of a brazen head that spoke. It is 
told that he worked at it for forty years and that then 
it was smashed to atoms by his more famous pupil, 
St. Thomas Aquinas, who committed the act in order 
to show to the world the futility of man's labour, when 
in one minute he could destroy that which had taken 
the greater part of a lifetime to build up. 

Some three hundred years later one Vaucanson put 
together a famous duck which attracted extraordinary 
attention. This curious automaton quacked like the 
live bird, flapped its wings, gobbled grain and performed 
various other feats which drew crowds to witness its 
vagaries. It was, of course, nothing more than a 
mechanical toy, but four hundred years ago it was a 
wonder of the world. 

This Vaucanson, who was a Parisian of good birth, 
was a most ingenious fellow, for, besides the duck, he 
contrived a mechanical flute-player nearly 6 ft. in height. 
The figure held the instrument to its lips and moved the 
fingers upon the stops while the flute gave forth familiar 
airs. We are not informed where the breath came 
from, but probably it was supplied by some bellows 



A HISTORICAL SURVEY 7 

arrangement like that employed by Faber in his speaking 
automaton of 1860. 

Then, in 1632, came a remarkable prototype of the 
fabulous Baron Munchausen. This was a ship captain, 
named Vasterlock, who had sailed the southern seas 
as far as the Straits of Magellan and had a marvellous 
yarn to tell. He related, with solemn countenance, 
that the natives of that stormy region grew a wonderful 
sponge, which, when spoken into, retained in its cells the 
voice of the speaker. To reproduce the speech one had 
only to squeeze the sponge and the accents were heard 
distinctly. Such was the ignorance of the period that 
many persons actually believed him. 

The real Cyrano de Bergerac, who was a living per- 
sonage, a poet and author of remarkable ability and 
genius, and not the fictitious hero of a play, as too many 
who have recently witnessed a very fine perfor- 
mance have been apt to suppose the real Cyrano, in 
his book L' Histoires Comiques des Etats de la Lune, 
published in 1654, shadowed forth an instrument 
which came very close in description to our modern 
talking machine. Poor de Bergerac was a man of vast 
imagination, and had he combined it with constructive 
power, we might have had gramophones two hundred 
and fifty years ago. 

There is a curious story which we read in an American 
paper not long since, but have been unable to verify. 
It concerns John Wesley, the eminent founder of the 
religious sect bearing his name, and, if true, would 
show that a big stride had been taken in his time towards 
the production of vocal sounds by mechanical means. 
Wesley was on one of his long preaching tours, and had 
crossed to Ireland. In a small town of the West he came 
upon a poor clock-maker, who showed him an extra- 
ordinary timepiece that the man had constructed 



8 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

with his own hands. Instead of striking the hours, it 
announced them in deep, sonorous tones exactly like 
the sound of a human voice. The preacher marvelled 
greatly, and asked the man why he had not exploited 
his invention. The reply was that poverty prevented 
him, he had not even the means to purchase the materials 
to produce another clock on the same lines. Wesley 
gave him all the money he could spare, which was not 
much, and rode away. A few years later the great 
preacher was in Ireland again, and looked up his old 
friend the clock-maker. Alas ! there was a great 
change. Sunk into abject misery, his hopes, which had 
once been high, had given place to despair. The clock 
was there, but utterly ruined by neglect, and the old 
man's mind was tottering on the verge of collapse. 
Sadly Wesley left him, and that is how the story ends. 
If true, it is only another instance of the futility of 
genius unassisted by substantial means. 

Towards the end of the eighteenth century there 
appears to have been something very like a craze for 
the imitation of human speech by mechanical methods. 
In 1779 an inventor named Kratzenstein produced a 
machine by which the vowel sounds were automatically 
pronounced. This was accomplished by forcing air 
through a reed into different hollows or cavities of 
varying size. It does not seem, however, to have been 
a great success. 

A more ingenious affair was that of Kempelin, which 
attracted the attention of Sir David Brewster, who, by 
the way, was the first man to prophesy that, eventually, 
a medium for the artificial production of speech would 
be discovered. Kempelin 's invention was more 
elaborate than that of Kratzenstein. Based very 
much on the same principle, it was restricted to a 
single cavity dexterously acted upon by the hand. 



A HISTORICAL SURVEY 9 

Subsequently it was improved until it could be 
made to pronounce a whole sentence. The words 
have not been vouchsafed to us, but we suspect they 
were rather crude in tone and articulation. 

The most perfect vocal automaton ever produced 
was, undoubtedly, that of Faber, who completed it in 
1860. This marvellous machine was constructed on 
anatomical lines analogous to those governing the 
production of the human voice. The lungs were 
represented by a keyboard in the trunk, from which air 
was forced through tubes in the throat to play upon 
ivory reeds which took the place of the vocal chords. 
In the larynx a small wheel was inserted to control the 
roll of the R, and a rubber tongue, with lips of the 
same material, enunciated the consonants. It was a 
triumph of mechanical skill, but from what we have 
read regarding it, the sounds it gave forth were utterly 
unlike those of anything human. 

From all that we can gather this was the last attempt 
made to imitate the speech of mankind by an artificial 
device. For several centuries persons had been striving 
to produce vocal sounds to mimic the voice of nature in 
man or the lower animals. The idea of reproduction 
of sound had never occurred to a single soul, though it 
was strange that the echo, which had fastened upon 
the minds of the old Greeks, had not taken a grip 
of later thinkers. In the echo is the actual basis of the 
talking machine, for it is the sound-wave impinging 
upon a substance and being thrown back therefrom, 
while, by the recording process, the wave is seized upon 
and held for future reproduction. 



CHAPTER II 

THE SOUND WAVE AND ITS CAPTURE 

WHAT is sound ? Asked suddenly in a company of 
ordinary middle-class people we doubt if the question 
would be immediately answered. The same result 
would most likely ensue were a similar query propounded 
in regard to sight, taste or smell, but as sound is the 
subject on which we are at present engaged we will 
pursue that alone. The correct answer to the inquiry 
would be that sound is a sensation produced by the 
vibratory impact of the air upon the external tympanum, 
or drum, of the ear, whence it is conveyed by an internal 
process to the brain. By no possibility could the sound 
be heard without the air or some less important body 
acting as a medium. As far back as 1705, Hawksbee 
made experiments which proved this. In a vacuum the 
sound of a bell could not be heard. Water is a much 
better conductor than air, but the atmosphere by which 
we are constantly surrounded, being the body most 
easily and most conveniently set in motion, is the unfail- 
ing means of exciting that sensation which we call sound. 
We now perceive that there can be no sound without 
motion. Take an ordinary glass and strike it with 
some hard substance so that it gives forth an audible 
note, then, very gently bring your finger into contact 
with the rim and you will feel a tremor as long as the 
sound lasts. If, however, you press your finger upon the 
edge, so as to stop the vibration, the sound ceases. It 
is a very simple illustration, but it conveys almost all 
that need be said on this branch of the subject. 

Air is entirely composed of myriads upon myriads 
10 



THE SOUND WAVE AND ITS CAPTURE 11 

of particles, and when these atoms are agitated they 
jostle each other and, in a greater or less degree, form 
themselves into wavelets. It is not necessary to 
bring forward the oft-quoted simile of the stone thrown 



Horn waves 



Higher 



Cornet Waves 



\p!\jW|^^ 

By the courtesy of the Gramophone Co., Ltd. 

SOUND WAVES MAGNIFIED 

into the pond causing ripples to illustrate this simple 
fact. Chladni, whose Treatise on Acoustics was pub- 
lished in Paris in 1809, demonstrated the unerring 
formation of sound waves by scattering sand on metal 



Waves 

Oboe Waves 

i *" t ~- ^ 

By the courtesy of the Gramophone Co., Ltd. 

SOUND WAVES MAGNIFIED 

plates and subjecting it to the vibrations caused by 
harmonious notes struck on musical instruments. 
Tyndall in his Lectures on Sound informs us that a 
somewhat similar experiment was performed by 
Lichtenberg before Chladni 's time. An electrified 
powder and resin cakes were used, and the disposition 



12 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

of the powder showed the effect of the electricity upon 
the surface of the cakes. 

About the same date as Chladni, Duhamel was 
engaged upon experiments which made the nearest 
approach to the phonograph that had then been dis- 
covered. This earnest worker found it practicable to 
record the sonorous signs by means of a revolving 
cylinder and papers smeared with lamp-black. A little 
later the Due de Leon, in his letters, supported the claim 
of a German artisan to have successfully reproduced 




By the courtesy of the Gramophone Co., Ltd. 

SOUND WAVES MAGNIFIED 

By adding together the violin and clarinet waves we get the 
resultant wave which the ear receives and analyses 

the human voice by mechanical means. That is all we 
know about it, however, no further reference to the 
machine having been found. Another step towards 
reproduction of sound was made by Eisenmanger, of 
Paris, who, in 1836, secured an English patent for 
registering pianoforte music by the use of carbonized 
paper and a depressed stylus. 

Inventors were now getting warm, as the children 
say in their game. The hidden secret of reproduction 
was being tracked down, but it was still elusive. 

Twenty years after Eisenmanger's invention, M. Leon 
Scott de Martinville came very close to it with his 
device, " The Phonautograph." Scott was a descendant 



THE SOUND WAVE AND ITS CAPTURE 13 

of one of those intense Jacobites who had followed the 
unhappy fortunes of King James II, when he fled to 
France and cast himself on the bounty of the French 
monarch. Few some say only one of those mis- 
guided Scotsmen ever returned, and it is certain that 
Scott's ancestor never did, for the family for generations 
had been recognized as purely French. Following up 
Duhamel's discovery of half a century before, this 
Frenchman with the Caledonian name evolved his 
" Phonautograph," but being pressed for money, as so 
many inventors are, he formed a partnership with one 
Kcenig, who provided the sinews of war. 

For a description of Scott's machine we will quote 
from our friend Mr. Henry Seymour's valuable work 
entitled The Reproduction of Sound 

" The method employed by Scott was to support a 
roller, having an extended spindle through its centre 
and forming its axis, upon two standards or supports, 
one extension of the spindle being furnished with a 
thread to engage with a corresponding female thread in 
one of the standards. A small handle attached to one 
end of the spindle enabled the drum to be revolved at 
any desired speed, the traverse movement to provide 
clearance being, of course, provided by the threaded 
spindle. The drum was covered with a sheet of paper, 
the surface of which was prepared with lamp-black ; 
and at the perimeter of the same was placed a diaphragm 
of parchment held by a short piece of brass tube, upon 
one end of which it was stretched in the fashion of a 
drum-head, the other end of the tube being connected 
to a focusing chamber or barrel, made from plaster of 
Paris. Upon the centre of the flexible diaphragm was 
fixed with sealing wax a stubby hog's bristle ; when the 
drum was revolved the bristle was in intimate contact 
with its carbonized surface, and removed the particles 



14 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

of lamp-black with which it came in contact, leaving a 
distinct marking. It was found when no sound was 
directed into the barrel or focusing chamber, and the 
drum was revolved at any speed, only a straight line 
was marked upon the paper ; but when the drum was 
revolved at a given speed and sounds of various charac- 
ters were concentrated in the direction of the flexible 
diaphragm, the marking or line would assume a wave- 
like form, and that these peculiar sinuosities varied in 
size and frequency as the sounds of speech differed in 
character. In fine, the waves varied with the pitch and 
intensity of the sound, but were invariably constant for 
the same sound." 

Here, then, was a complete machine for the recording 
of the human voice, but it lacked the means of repro- 
duction. The voice was there on the paper, but it 
could not be sent back through the plaster of Paris 
chamber. You could see the voice but you could not 
hear it. The Encyclopaedia Britannica states that the 
screw for the traverse movement was the invention of 
Kcenig, but as Scott and he were jointly engaged upon the 
work, and Scott had constructed the machine before 
Kcenig had anything to do with it, we may take it that 
the credit for the whole should belong to the original 
inventor. 

At a meeting of the British Association in 1859, the 
Phonautograph was exhibited and attracted a good 
deal of attention. The Prince Consort was then President 
of the Association and took a great interest in the 
machine, demonstrating it to Queen Victoria, who was 
equally interested. 

Although nothing actually useful came from the 
invention of Scott at the time, it turned the minds of 
scientists in a new direction, and the vibratory 
diaphragm was taken up and experimented upon by 



THE SOUND WAVE AND ITS CAPTURE 15 

those with some knowledge of acoustics. Among 
others was Philip Reiss, of Friedrichsdorf, who proved 
that the voice could be transmitted frpm one diaphragm 
to another by means of an electrified wire conveying 
a current. This was the first crude telephone. A 
Scotsman, Alexander Graham Bell, working on the same 
lines as Reiss, made several wonderful advances, while 
Gray and others effected some important improvements, 
until the telephone as we see it to-day came into being. 
One development followed another, and there can be 
no question that from the telephone sprang the 
phonograph. 

In regard to the coining of the word " phonograph," 
we believe the credit is due to a Mr. Fenby, who, in 
1863, took out a patent for the electrical recording and 
reproducing of sound, and registered his instrument 
by that name. What became of this invention we cannot 
tell, but most probably it went into that limbo which is 
specially reserved for the countless products of clever 
men's brains. Mr. Seymour tells us that it was 
altogether different in conception and function from 
the Edison machine. 

And now the mention of that magic name leads us 
on to the great discovery of the secret after which men 
had been hankering for so many years. There has been 
considerable dispute in respect to Edison's claim as 
inventor of the talking machine. Certain it is that, 
in April, 1877, M. Charles Cros, of Paris, deposited with 
the French Academy of Sciences the description of a 
machine almost identical with that in the specification 
of the patent which was not applied for by Edison till 
the following year. The question then arises: Was it 
possible for Edison to have known of the Cros descrip- 
tion ? We think not, though many have maintained a 
contrary opinion. It is a moot point which has never 



16 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

been satisfactorily decided, but we are inclined to 
believe that the balance of the evidence rests in Edison's 
favour. Was not the appearance of the star Neptune 
predicted by two astronomers, French and English, for 
the same hour, and the prediction made simultaneously ? 
Were not Darwin and Wallace working on the same lines 
in biology for years and drawing the same conclusions 
without either of them knowing it ? When such 
coincidences have been recorded and confirmed, is it 
incapable of belief that Cros and Edison could have 
made a simultaneous discovery ? 

There are different stories of how the secret of sound 
reproduction was revealed, but all of them point to an 
accident. The most popular tale is that supposed to 
have been told by Mr. Edison himself. " I was singing 
to the mouthpiece of a telephone," it runs, " when the 
vibration of the voice sent the fine steel point into my 
finger. This set me thinking. If I could record the 
actions of the point over the same surface afterwards 
I saw no reason why the thing would not talk. I tried 
the experiment first on a slip of telegraph paper and 
found that the point made an alphabet. I shouted 
the words : ' Halloo ! Halloo ! ' into the mouthpiece, 
ran the paper back over the steel point, and heard a 
faint ' Halloo ! Halloo ! ' in return. I there and then 
determined to make a machine which would work 
accurately. That's the whole story, and this happened 
in 77." 

Mr. Seymour, in his book already referred to, gives 
a much more scientific version of the discovery, but it 
is not necessary to trouble the reader with it here, 
since it is our endeavour to render our little work as 
free from abstruse technicalities as possible. 

Having arrived at the conclusion that the construc- 
tion of a talking machine came within the bounds of 



THE SOUND WAVE AND ITS CAPTURE 17 

probability, Edison lost no time in setting to work upon 
it. There can be no doubt he knew all about Leon 
Scott's invention, for he began where Scott left off. The 
roller or drum principle for making the record was 
freely adapted from the phonautograph, and the feed 
device, said to have been invented by Kcenig on Scott's 
machine, was also used. There, however, to a great 
extent, the similarity ended. The means employed to 
obtain the record were different. Edison's roller was 
spirally grooved, and instead of the paper and lamp- 
black previously used, tinfoil was substituted as a 
covering for the drum. The hog's bristle on the dia- 
phragm gave place to a steel point which made indenta- 
tions on the tinfoil when the drum was revolved and 
the diaphragm was caused to vibrate by sound. These 
indentations were, of course, very minute and followed 
the grooves on the roller in irregular fashion, some 
deeper than others, with varying distances between, 
corresponding with the strength and frequency of the 
sounds uttered into the focusing-chamber. When the 
needle was again made to traverse the indented path, 
reconveying the vibrations to the diaphragm, the 
original sounds were reproduced. The great secret was 
a secret no longer. The reproduction of the human 
voice had been achieved. 

At first the sounds were faint and unnatural, but the 
enlargement of the focusing-chamber into an amplifying 
horn bore its fruit in increased distinctness, nevertheless 
the whole comtraption was exceedingly crude. A 
detailed description, giving dimensions, runs as follows : 
The machine consisted of a brass drum, 4 ins. in length 
and 3-4 ins. in diameter, carried on a screw shaft which 
advanced -1 for each revolution. The surface of the 
drum was traversed by a narrow groove of -1 in., and was 
covered with tinfoil. At right angles to the axis was 



18 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

fixed a tube closed at the end nearest the drum by a 
thin ferrotype plate, which had at its centre a projecting 
stylus. The vibrations of the plate caused the stylus 
to indent the unsupported tinfoil as the cylinder 
revolved. On the opposite side of the drum was another 
tube, closed at its outer end by a paper diaphragm from 
the centre of which a light rod passed to a rounded 
pin, which a spring carried close to the tinfoil surface. 
On the drum being rotated and the pin brought into 
contact with the indented foil, the sounds which 
had caused the vibration of the ferrotype plate were 
reproduced. 

Very soon it was found that the hand-crank gave 
an irregular motion to the mandril, and Edison cast 
about for some mechanism which would overcome 
this. Water and electricity were both tried, the latter 
being definitely adopted and holding the sway until 
1894, when Mr. T. H. Macdonald, the factory manager 
of the American Graphophone Company, succeeded in 
producing a clock-work motor. This met with general 
approval, but was surpassed by a motor previously 
made in England by the late Mr. Fitch, of Goswell 
Road, London, a most ingenious invention, with a 
delicate governing apparatus. It is the model which 
forms the basis for all the more modern motors used as 
the driving force for every kind of cylinder machine. 

As a man of action Edison hastened to apply for a 
patent. His claims for the potentialities of his inven- 
tion are worthy of note : (1) Letter writing and all 
kinds of dictation without the aid of a stenographer ; 
(2) Phonographic books, which will speak to blind 
people without effort on their part ; (3) The teaching 
of Elocution ; (4) Reproduction of Music ; (5) The 
" Family Record " a registry of sayings, reminiscences, 
etc., by members of a family in their own voices, and of 



THE SOUND WAVE AND ITS CAPTURE 19 

the last words of dying persons ; (6) Music boxes and 
toys ; (7) Clocks that should announce in articulate 
speech the time for going home, going to meals, etc. ; 
(8) The preservation of languages by the exact repro- 
duction of the manner of pronouncing ; (9) Educational 
purposes, such as preserving the explanation made by 
a teacher, so that the pupil can refer to them at any 
moment, and spelling and other lessons placed upon 
the machine for convenience in committing to 
memory ; and (10) Connection with the telephone so 
as to make the .invention an auxiliary in the transmission 
of permanent and invaluable records, instead of being 
the recipient of momentary and fleeting communications. 
It is a great list, but application No. 4 seems to be 
the only one that so far has been completely carried out. 
A curious fact, too, is that he should claim for the teach- 
ing of elocution and not for the teaching of music, 
whereas to-day there is scarcely a school in America in 
which the talking machine is not used for the latter 
purpose. In this connection also 'there is a noteworthy 
instance of the value of the machine as a teacher. 
Madame Galli-Curci, the famous operatic prima donna 
was refused an engagement by every impresario of 
distinction in the States. Her voice was not considered 
good enough. Nothing daunted, she went away and 
secluded herself with a gramophone and a big parcel 
of records made from the voices of the leading soprani 
of the day. In the peace and quietness of her home 
she practised assiduously, testing her voice against 
those on the records. Gradually her vocal organ 
improved. It had been there all along, but her training 
had been insufficient. At last, when she imagined 
she was qualified, she presented herself to a manager 
asking for an audition. He remembered her and 
declined to listen. It was the same with others. They 

3-(1466E) 



20 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

had heard her once and refused to give her another 
chance. Almost despairing, she made her way to 
Chicago, where, by good fortune, she found a gentleman 
who acceded to her request. He listened and was 




By the courtesy of thi Gramophone Co., Ltd. 
MADAME GALLI-CURCI 

amazed. She got her engagement at once, and now she 
is the idol of America. A talking machine had wrought 
a seeming miracle. 

In claim No. 8 Edison speaks of the " preservation " 
of languages He may have been thinking of the dying 
tongues of the fast disappearing Red Race of his native 
country Certainly the instrument would be of use in 
preserving for the knowledge* of the curious some 
specimens of the speech of those Indians, but we cannot 
conceive what benefit that would be to humanity. 



THE SOUND WAVE AND ITS CAPTURE 21 

America has done her best to destroy the Red Man, 
why should she wish to preserve his language ? How- 
ever, in teaching living languages the talking machine 
has been making great progress of late, and there is a 
tremendous future before it in this direction. There 
are other branches of education, too, in which it will 
presently be found extremely useful, not forgetting our 
friend the dancing-master, who is installing machines 
all over the country to provide the necessary music. 

The first machine constructed by Edison, a model of 
which, presented by himself, may be seen in South 
Kensington Museum (there is a photograph of it hanging 
before our eyes at the present moment), was a very 
clumsy affair with a handle for rotating the cylinder and 
the results were far from satisfactory. Nevertheless, 
they were a reproduction and gave a basis lor further 
experiment. The tinfoil was not well suited to receive 
the extremely delicate indentations of the recording 
needle. It offered too great a resistance, and the con- 
sequence was that the sounds were feeble and indistinct 
even after the enlargement of the focusing-chamber, 
so rubber tubes had to be used to convey the sounds 
from the diaphragm to the ear. The public, after the 
first burst of wonderment at the novelty, did not regard 
it with much favour. In the eyes of the average man it 
was nothing more than a scientific toy. 



CHAPTER III 

HOW THE TALKING MACHINE WAS BROUGHT 
TO ENGLAND 

IT had taken just upon seventy years, from the time of 
Duhamel's Vibrograph to the imperfect phonograph of 
Edison, for the reproduction of sound to be achieved. 
In the meantime both the telegraph and the telephone 
had been launched upon the world, but these were 
of an electric nature, whereas the talking machine 
had nothing whatsoever to do with electricity. It 
was an exceedingly simple contrivance based upon 
the storage and release of sound by means of 
vibrations, and its utility in the beginning was 
doubtful. 

In the same year that Edison filed his application in 
the United States, 1878, he took out an English patent, 
No. 1644. By this it may be seen to the present day 
that he did not pin his faith solely to tinfoil as a record- 
ing medium. He mentions also waxes, gums or lacs, 
but at that time he undoubtedly believed in what is 
commonly known as " silver paper." 

Whether Edison was disheartened by the comparative 
failure of his invention or was too busily engaged with 
other novelties which promised to be more remunerative 
we have no knowledge, but it is an undisputed fact that 
for about ten years he allowed his work upon the instru- 
ment to fall into abeyance. There were others, however, 
almost as keen-witted as himself, who were striving 
eagerly to produce a device which would not infringe 
the Edison American patent. These men were that 
indefatigable Scotsman, Alexander Graham Bell, whose 

22 



TALKING MACHINE BROUGHT TO ENGLAND 23 

name has already been mentioned in connection with the 
telephone, his brother, Chichester Bell, and a clever 
American scientist, Charles Sumner Tainter. While 
Edison was dreaming or toiling in other directions, 
these three were ferreting out fresh secrets in regard to 
the phonograph. Unaware of the original inventor's 
English patent, which mentioned wax as a recording 
medium, they discovered that by the employment of a 
composition which had wax as its principal , ingredient 
they had a workable substance. They discarded the 
steel point used by Edison and substituted a sapphire 
stylus shaped like a gouge. This latter dug into the 
wax " blank," as the mandril coating was called (a term 
now used for all kinds of surfaces upon which sounds are 
recorded in the first instance), instead of merely indenting 
as the needle had done upon the tinfoil. To the instru- 
ment constructed by the trio they gave the name of 
" Graph ophone," a name still used by the highly successful 
Columbia Company for their machines. The results 
obtained by the Bell and Tainter method of recording 
were greatly in advance of those secured by the Edison, 
and an interest in the talking machine was at once 
re-awakened. In one respect the new invention remained 
the same as the original. The track made by the stylus 
on the wax, like that made by the pin-head on the 
tinfoil, was of the " hill-and-dale " or undulating 
variety. The sinuous or zigzag track was still in the 
air, so to speak. 

The success of the Graphophone in the reproduction of 
sound led capitalists to look upon it in the light of a 
commercial proposition. Companies were formed to 
manufacture machines and records, and to exploit 
them to the world. In fact, there arose a boom in the 
invention which that of Edison had never known, and 
records of the voices of popular American vocalists 



24 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

sold throughout the States as rapidly as they could be 
turned out. 

In the beginning every one of these records was a 
" master," that is to say, it was the original as it was 
slipped off the cylinder, but soon a duplicating machine 
was manufactured by which copies could be taken 
without injury to the master. This machine has now 
almost fallen into desuetude, and the cylinder record 
is fast following it into the region of forgotten things. 
At that time, however, it was in full swing, and the 
copies made by it had the inevitable effect of cheapening 
the market. 

The vogue of the Graphophone aroused Edison and 
caused him once more to turn his mind to the talking 
machine. Immediately the fat was in the fire. As 
Tainter and Bell had adopted Edison's mandril and 
cylinder without saying by your leave, so Edison fastened 
upon their cutting apparatus. Both parties appealed 
to the law and fought their hardest. Edison main- 
tained that indenting was equivalent to cutting, Tainter 
and Bell asserted that it was a different process altogether. 
The suit dragged on interminably, and the costs mounted 
higher and higher, and all the time it was giving the 
talking machine bold advertisement. The law's delay 
is quite as notorious in America as it is here, if not 
more so, and people began to whisper that the continued 
prolongation of the actions was caused by the desire of 
the litigants to deter other inventors from entering 
into a field fraught with so many terrors. The end of it 
all was a dollar ! Each paid the other this magnificent 
sum for infringement of patent and peace was pro- 
claimed. What the costs amounted to nobody but those 
concerned in the case ever knew. 

The immediate effect of the drawn battle was the 
formation of a company called the Edison United, 



TALKING MACHINE BROUGHT TO ENGLAND 25 

which bought the patents that had been the casus 
belli, and fondly imagined they had got hold of every- 
thing and there would be no more litigation. However, 
no sooner had this new concern found its feet and was 
doing great business than the former foes came together 
and promoted the Edison-Bell Company, a name still 
perpetuated by J. E. Hough, Ltd., of Glengall Road, 
Peckham, London. How this firm became entitled to 
the use of the famous name is too long a story to be 
related here, but it was acquired by perfectly legitimate 
means. As it was, after a time Edison became dis- 
satisfied with the way the company was carrying on 
business, though his name still appeared in conjunction 
with that of Bell in the title of the company, as it does 
to this day. 

Before the first talking machine war had ignomin- 
iously fizzled out, however, a new method of obtaining 
records from the " master " had been discovered which 
revolutionized the whole business. The old duplicating 
process was superseded by electrotyping. By this 
means the master was covered with a coating of copper 
and any number of moulded copies could be taken from 
it without difficulty. Though Edison was not the 
inventor of this system he vastly improved upon it, and 
the records, by reason of the use of harder wax, and 
consequently the more exact reproduction of the voice, 
became much more marketable. Later on other metals 
than copper were employed, and under the vacuum 
deposit process, which reduces metals to a vapour by 
high tension electric currents, gold moulded cylinder 
records made their appearance. The enormous quantities 
which were produced again brought down the price 
and the public demand increased. 

Hitherto, it will be observed, that we have spoken 
solely and entirely of America from the time that 



26 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

Edison took out his first patent. The reason for this 
is not difficult to trace. There were no talking machines 
anywhere else. The patent holders had a monopoly of 
them, they were not permitted to be exported except 
under licence, and this licence was granted to nobody 
unless contracts were signed of the most one-sided 
character. The story of how the first phonograph 
was smuggled across the Atlantic to Ireland is most 
interesting and amusing, and we give it straight from the 
mouth of the gentleman who perpetrated the deed. 
He is alive and flourishing to-day, and is still connected 
with the talking machine trade. His name is Mr. 
Percy Willis, and he is sales manager to the firm of 
J. E. Hough, Ltd., already mentioned, whose Winner 
records are known all over the world. 

" Well, I won't say that ours was absolutely the first 
machine on this side," said Mr. Willis when we saw him 
at the Edison Bell Works in Peckham, " but 111 swear 
it was the first to be smuggled, and they were smuggled 
in their thousands afterwards. We had been doing 
rotten business in Canada, my partner and I, and cash 
was running short. When one feels the lining of his 
wallet wearing thin it sharpens his wits and brightens 
up his intellect. Anyhow, I've always found it so, 
and I've had a pretty wide experience. We were in 
Montreal, and one evening as we passed down the street 
we came upon a sort of booth or curtained store where 
a great crowd of people were hovering around. Outside 
there was a big bill posted up announcing that a phono- 
graph might be heard within at so many cents a head. 
' Gee/ ! I exclaimed. ' If we could only get one of 
these machines and a few dozen records across to England 
our fortunes would be made.' I may tell you, at that 
time the Edison United was controlling the earth in the 
talking machine line. They had little or no opposition, 



TALKING MACHINE BROUGHT TO ENGLAND 27 

for Berliner had not then taken out his patents, and this 
company was running the Edison and the Tainter and 
Bell inventions combined in one. They were the lords 
of creation in the new business, and they carried things 
with a mighty high hand. My partner agreed with me 
that there was money in the notion, and we made up 
our minds to go ahead without delay. 

" Next day we took train for Boston, and there 
we bought the machine and three dozen cylinder 
records. For these we had to put our names to 
several portentous looking documents, binding us 
down to all kinds of restrictions, the most important 
of which, to us, was that neither the machine nor the 
records were to be taken out of the United States 
under a penalty of something approaching to electro- 
cution. But what did we care ? We had determined 
upon the adventure and we would take all risks. By the 
time we had paid for our passages from Boston to 
Queenstown we were just about the end of our tether so 
far as cash went, but we were buoyed up with plenty of 
hope for the future. We were precious careful of our 
baggage, I can assure you, for on that depended the 
whole of our expectations. However, we got through 
to Queenstown all right and then 111 never forget it ! 
We were going ashore when the strap supporting the 
parcel of records broke and there was a crash. My 
heart was in my mouth, but when we came to examine 
we found that only twelve of them had gone, we had 
still a couple of dozen to carry on with. 

" Of course, it was necessary for us to see about 
business at once. We could not afford to rest on our 
oars for a single moment, so we made our start there and 
then in Queenstown, and a splendid start it was. The 
people came rolling in by dozens and scores. In those 
days, you know, to hear the record you had to listen 



28 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

with tubes in your ears, and there was no spring motor 
to drive the machine. The mandril was rotated by 
electricity which necessitated lugging a battery about 
with you. These were drawbacks which have all been 
overcome long since, but the thing was then in its 
swaddling clothes and hadn't even begun to crawl. 
The worst of it was that only one person could listen 
at a time and, especially with children, there was a good 
deal of difficulty in subduing the impatience of the 
waiting crowd. 

" From the very first day of our opening I saw that 
most of our anticipations were to be fulfilled. Everybody 
was full of the wonderful talking machine and our fame 
preceded us to Cork which was our next town. There 
they nocked to us in shoals, and I recollect one old woman 
standing with a market basket on her arm while I 
expatiated on the wonders of the invention. She 
regarded me with a wistful eye for a long time, and then 
in an audible whisper she asked a neighbour, ' What's 
ailin' him ? ' 

" Waterford and Limerick were little gold mines to 
us, and then we opened at the Central Hall in Dublin. 
In the first five days we took 200. Our dreams were 
being realized, and there were not two happier fellows 
in the whole of Ireland. 

" While in Dublin we had a private visit from the 
Lord Mayor of the city, who brought three members 
of Parliament with him. They had come especially 
to hear the voice of Gladstone, who was then in extra- 
ordinary favour with the Irish because of his Home Rule 
Bill. Now, I was just a little perturbed about this. 
We had a record of the words of Gladstone giving his 
famous message to Edison on the marvel of the talking 
machine, but the voice well, it was not the actual 
voice of the great statesman, it was that of somebody 



TALKING MACHINE BROUGHT TO ENGLAND 29 

else. In fear and trembling I put it on. Each of the 
visitors heard it in turn wich reverential awe. Then, 
judge of my surprise when one of them grasped me by 
the hand. ' Thank you, sir,' he remarked, ' I have sat 
behind the old man for nearly fifty years and recognize 
every tone of the voice.' I guess the man who made that 
record must have been a great mimic. 

" We did so well in Dublin that I thought I would 
chance another smuggling expedition to the States for 
more records and a few machines, for we had had many 
inquiries concerning the price of them and how they 
could be obtained. I went and was entirely successful, 
bringing the goods over in apple barrels packed as fruit. 
We were now in full swing. The machines sold for 
high prices to persons who wished to enter into the same 
line as ourselves and the entertainment business flourished 
exceedingly. I remember a very amusing incident, 
though it was rather serious at the moment. We were 
going from Ireland to the Isle of Man, for the season in 
Douglas. As I have already told you, we had to carry 
an electric battery with us for the motor power to turn 
the cylinder. While waiting for the boat in Liverpool 
I had the battery fully charged ready to start as soon as 
we reached the island. The terminals were on top. 
and I set the thing down and walked away for a minute 
or two. In my absence a woman came along with a 
tin box and flopped it atop of my apparatus. The box 
being of metal completed the circuit, and by the time I 
returned the bottom of that box had gone and the lady 
thought she had struck an infernal machine. I had to 
recompense her, of course, which, I suppose, served me 
right for my carelessness. 

"At that time Charles Coborn was at his zenith with 
' The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo.' We 
contrived to get a record of the song, and it was one 



30 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

of the greatest hits we ever made. People used to come 
again and again to listen to it , and then they would bring 
their friends. Everybody wanted to hear that song, 
till at last the cylinder got clean worn out, for in those 
days the wax that they were made of was rather soft 
stuff and wouldn't last as the later cylinders did. 

" It was a glorious life and I enjoyed myself amazingly. 
There were other trips to America, each one more profit- 
able than the last, and I was never caught > though once 
one of the Edison United men came after me on this side 
and wanted to know the names of the parties who had 
machines from me. I refused to give him any informa- 
tion and defied him. He had no proofs against me, in 
spite of the fact being known that I was engaged in that 
sort of contraband ; but there were certain prosecutions 
of other persons, and one of the best known men in the 
trade since then was obliged to take refuge in Holland 
for a time. 

" Those days are long past now. The high-handed 
methods of the Edison United have departed from these 
shores, and the gramophone has almost entirely taken 
the place of the phonograph. When my partner 
alas ! he is dead now, poor fellow and I severed our 
connection he got the highest price ever paid for a 
talking machine up till that time. It was the good old 
instrument that had lasted us all through, and he sold 
it for 200 ! Our records, too, fetched a pound a piece." 



CHAPTER IV 

THE DISC MACHINE 

IT has been previously stated that the gramophone, or 
disc machine, has, in this country at least, practically 
ousted the older invention from the English market. 
Up to the outbreak of the war with Germany, Edison had 
a big factory at Willesden, on the northern outskirts of 
London, and did a fairly good, though declining, trade. 
At one time, of course, he had had almost a monopoly of 
the industry in England, and the Edison machine was the 
popular instrument. There are still a certain number of 
enthusiasts clinging to it scattered throughout the 
country, who have formed societies of their own and 
endeavour to revive the dying cult, but we fear that 
their success is limited. Some of the trade factors, 
that is to say, the wholesalers, have accused the Edison 
Company in Britain of sharp practice. The American 
methods of business did not suit the slower-moving 
traders of this country and there were latterly some 
actions at law. The Edison factory closed down and 
there were no more cylinders or machines on sale from 
that quarter. It is not improbable that the managers 
of the British branch of the business formed a wrong 
estimate of the effect the war would have upon the trade 
and scuttled off to avoid a slump. If that should have 
been the case, they made the biggest mistake of their 
lives, for the war proved to be of the greatest benefit 
to the trade generally, from the manufacturer down to 
the humblest dealer, although it was almost entirely 
in favour of the disc machine. Nevertheless, had the 

31 



32 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

Edison people stuck to their guns they would, in all 
likelihood, have had a share in the prosperity. In the 
whole of the three kingdoms there is now but one small 
factory turning out cylinders, that of the Clarion 
Company, at Wandsworth. 

The inventor of the disc system was Emil Berliner. 
It will be remembered that both the Edison and the 
Tainter-Bell processes were those of the hill and dale 
track, Berliner reverted to the old method of Leon 
Scott with his phon autograph, and produced a sinuous 
or zigzag pathway. This is known to experts as the 
needle-cut record, while the original is the phono-cut. 
Berliner's first essay in disc reproduction was to coat a 
flat zinc plate with a viscous film, as is done in zinco- 
graphy, and then to engrave thereon by means of a 
needle attached to a diaphragm the sinuosities resulting 
from the sound-imparted vibrations of the diaphragm. 
These appeared as tiny microscopical wriggles running in 
a spiral track on the face of the prepared disc, which 
were afterwards bitten into the zinc by acid. To obtain 
a reproduction a vertical diaphragm was used which 
had a stylus supported by a lever and acted upon by a 
point which ran in the concentric grooves. After 
being engraved the zinc disc was employed for the 
purpose of procuring a metallic negative from which 
countless records could be pressed in a composition 
consisting mainly of shellac, which hardens when cold. 
The reproductions thus obtained were, however, rough 
and crude, and recourse was afterwards had to the 
wax blank and the sapphire stylus. For the record 
made in this latter way a treatment of very fine graphite 
was applied which metallized it, and the electrotyping 
went on in the ordinary manner, with a solution of 
sulphate of copper bath, and the application of a high 
tension current. Great care had to be exercised in this 




By the courtesy of Messrs. Alfred Graham & Co., 
St. Andrew's Works, Crofton Park, London, S.E. 

AN ALGRAPHONE 

The most elaborately ornate gramophone exhibited at the 
British Trade Industries' Fair, 1922 



34 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

process, and special appliances had to be introduced 
for the purpose of procuring a good and service- 
able master from which the working matrices were 
obtained. 

There can be no doubt that the Berliner disc is the 
favourite upon the market, but there are phono-cut 
discs as well, which have a considerable following 




By the courtesy of the Gramophone Co., Ltd. 

HIS MASTER'S VOICE PORTABLE GRAMOPHONE 

among gramophone users. Our friend, Mr. Seymour, 
filed two specifications in reference to the recording and 
reproduction of this type of disc as far back as 1903, and 
one Dr. Michaelis, a German, took out a patent in this 
country a few months later for a somewhat similar 
invention. The doctor's was a rather curious production 
in stout strawboard coated with enamel, and faced 
with celluloid on which the record had been impressed. 



THE DISC MACHINE 35 

He called it the " Neophone," and we saw one of them 
not long since in the possession of a collector, who 
preserved it as a curio. Some of these discs were huge 
affairs, 20 ins. across. As a matter of fact, they were 
ultimately a failure. The strawboard warped and the 
records became useless. 

Undoubtedly the most successful firm in the exploita- 
tion of this system are Messrs. Pathe Freres, of Paris, 
London and New York, who years ago adopted the 
undulating method as applied to discs. Their records 
are pressed in the shellac composition like all others of 
this form, but have greater durability in consequence 
of being played with a ball pointed sapphire which does 
not give so much wear and tear as the sharp steel needle. 
For the same reason there is not quite so much surface 
sound. 

Edison himself has now brought out a disc of this 
design, but it has not reached England yet. It may, 
nevertheless, be expected at any moment, and will 
probably be on sale before our little work is in print. 
It is played, we are told, by a diamond, but this is 
nothing new, Pathe Freres had a diamond reproducer 
at the same time as their sapphire, but have now aban- 
doned it in favour of the latter. High encomiums have 
been passed on the Edison disc by the inventor's own 
countrymen, who praise it for its lack of that besetting 
sin of the gramophone, the surface scratch. By the way, 
the term " gramophone " was given by Berliner to his 
instrument in the same fashion as Edison called his 
machine a phonograph and Tainter and Bell named 
theirs a graphophone. But more of this hereafter. If 
the Edison disc should fulfil all the claims that are made 
for it the friends of the talking mahcine will welcome 
it with open arms, for even the most ardent admirers 
of the instrument cannot disguise from themselves 



36 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

the fact that in several respects there is room for 
improvement. 1 

It will no doubt be news to certain of our readers that 
sound has been photographed, yet a patent for sound 
photography was granted to Morgan-Brown so far back 
as 1880. Since then at least half a dozen have followed, 
including one to the irrepressible Graham Bell, in 1886. 

" The principle involved in most of these methods," 
says Seymour, " is to vary an otherwise constant 
beam of light passed through a condenser and reflecting 
upon a small mirror attached to a vibrating diaphragm, 
the reflected beam or ' light pencil ' being directed to 
impinge upon a blank with a sensitized surface. The 
recording machine is constructed much upon the same 
lines as those of the ordinary disc recording machine, with 
the addition, of course, that it is also a modified camera." 

Another plan for obtaining a record is by a somewhat 
intricate process of passing the record between a con- 
centrated beam of light falling on a selenium cell in 
circuit with a microphone by which the light waves are 
converted into sound waves. The system, however, 
has not yet been perfected. Theoretically the photo- 
phone may be all right, but we have not had the pleasure 
of listening to any of the records so reproduced, and 
until we do, we are rather inclined to be a little 
sceptical. That sound has been photographed we 

1 Since writing the above we have had an opportunity of 
listening to the much-vaunted Edison records on an Edison 
specially constructed machine, and have been most grievously 
disappointed. They are formidable looking discs of about a 
quarter of an inch in thickness, though very light considering, 
but, instead of diminishing the surface sound, the disagreeable 
scratch is much more manifest than ever, and in other respects 
the records show no advantage whatsoever over those at 
present issued by the best manufacturers. The artists, 
too, both vocal and instrumental, are a poor lot compared 
with those who are exclusively engaged by some of the other 
manufacturers. 



THE DISC MACHINE 37 

readily admit, it is the reproduction that we are doubtful 
about. Were the conjunction of light and sound 
brought into complete harmony the synchronization of 
the kinematograph with the gramophone would not be 
far distant. And that opens up an entirely new vista 
which we must not yet dwell upon because we are 
not gifted with the power of prophecy ; nevertheless, 
it is our opinion that before long the camera and the 
talking machine will come into consonance, so that we 
shall hear the voices of the players on the screen as well 
as witness their actions. 

We remember an attempt was made by Edison some 
years ago to synchronize the bioscope with the phono- 
graph, and a private show was given at the Company's 
premises in Clerkenwell Road, London. It was a 
ghastly failure. The mouths of the characters opened, 
but no words came, and, vice versa, when the lips were 
closed the machine persisted in talking. It was simply 
ludicrous. Since then, we understand, Edison has still 
been working on the idea but has not arrived at a 
satisfactory result. However, other inventors are 
pegging away at it, and quite recently we heard that 
Sir Harry Lauder has secured something wonderful in 
this line which he is keeping up his sleeve. 1 

1 The latest news from America assures us that the synchro- 
nization of the talking machine and the film has been achieved 
by means of the endless band. The method of producing a 
record upon a celluloid tape is not new. It was suggested several 
years ago though never actually carried out. Celluloid as a record 
substance goes back for a long time. As we have already noted 
Dr. Michaelis used it for his Neophone, and Edison's " Blue 
Amberols," the best cylinder records ever manufactured, were of 
this material. Celluloid or cellulose may be fashioned in flexible 
form and the record impressed upon it. A long ribbon of this 
could easily embody a whole opera, the reproduction being effected 
by passing the band over a couple of mandrils. In the timing 
of it with the film the record and the picture are reeled off together, 
so that the action and the voice correspond exactly. It is an 
ingenious notion, and we trust it may fructify. 



38 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

To revert to the Berliner disc machine or gramophone. 
It was patented in the year 1887, but not for another 
decade was it freely sold in Great Britain, though a 
few had made their appearance from America. Up 
till then the only machine known in this country 
was the cylinder. About 1897, Berliner sold his 
English patent rights to a private concern which called 
itself after the name of the instrument, The Gramophone 
Company. This firm dealt in talking machines made 
under the patent which they had purchased from the 
inventor ; but in 1899 it transferred the business to a 
company incorporated under the style of The Gramo- 
phone Company, Limited. A year later this company, 
in its turn, transferred the concern to a company with 
a much larger capital, which had at the same time 
acquired a business in typewriters, and was known as 
The Gramophone and Typewriter, Limited. Shortly 
afterwards it dropped its typewriter interest and became 
again The Gramophone Company, Limited, a title which 
it still retains. 

In 1900 the Tainter-Bell patent expired, and this 
was followed some time later by the expiration of the 
Berliner 1887 patent. In less than no time 'phones of 
all kinds were being rushed upon the public. Many 
of these were given fancy names, such as " Dulcephone," 
" Coronophone," and the like, but not one of them was 
known as a " Gramophone." That name was believed 
to be sacred to The Gramophone Company alone, and 
the mushroom manufacturers many of them, in fact, 
most of them, Germans had a wholesome dread of 
treading upon the corns of a corporation which was 
rapidly making its presence felt. 

The first double-sided disc was introduced to this 
country from Germany in 1904, and was a very good 
record indeed, which cannot be said of all its congeners. 



THE DISC MACHINE 39 

It belonged to the firm of C. and J. Ullmann and was 
named the Odeon Duplex. Odeon records were much 
sought after, and even now, with all the outcry against 
the admission of German goods, there are occasional 
inquiries for them. They were in two sizes, 1\ ins. 
and lOf ins. in diameter. 

In the same year also appeared the National Phono- 
graph Company, which was the Edison Company already 
referred to, with its European headquarters in Holland. 
The firm opened business in Gray's Inn Road and pros- 
pered so well that in a few months it took additional 
premises at 25 Clerkenwell Road. It then established a 
big factory at Willesden, London, N.W., and for some 
years did a flourishing trade. In the end, however, 
as we have previously stated, it went down, like a good 
many others, and England knew it no more. This 
practically severed the last British link with Edison 
and his phonograph. 

It was a year of great events in the Talking Machine 
Industry that 1904, for it likewise saw the arrival in 
this country of one of the most successful disc ventures 
that are known here at the present time. The British 
Zonophone Company came to London, bringing with it, 
as manager, a gentleman who is now deservedly regarded 
as one of the leading lights of the trade. We refer to 
Mr. Louis Sterling, who has been for several years the 
Managing Director of the British house of the world 
famous Columbia Graphophone Company. There is not 
a scheme for the welfare of the industry and (he better- 
ment of its prospects in which Mr. Sterling is not one 
of the moving spirits, and withal he is so unassuming, 
so genial, that he has endeared himself to everyone with 
whom he comes in contact. Still, like most men who 
have risen from small beginnings, and Mr. Sterling 
would not be ashamed to tell you himself that his 



40 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

beginnings were very small, he has had his struggles. 
Resigning his position with the Zonophone Company 
within a short period, he launched The Sterling Record 
Company, with a play upon his own name, and was 
shortly afterwards joined by Mr. Russell Hunting, 
an adventurous spirit, well known in the gramophone 
trade throughout the world. Hunting had previously 
been with the Edison-Bell Consolidated Company, from 
which he had seceded with a few others, and after joining 
Mr. Sterling, the name of the latter's concern was 
changed to the Russell Hunting Co. They occupied the 
old Zonophone premises at 81 City Road, while the 
Zono people moved to 23. 

The increasing popularity of the disc record was 
already beginning to affect the cylinder trade, and in 
1905 war arose between the Edison-Bell Consolidated 
Phonograph Company and the National Phonograph 
Company. We are not quite clear on the merits of the 
case, but, it seems that the National Company in a trade 
circular laid claim to the name of Edison as their own 
exclusive property. They doubtless had some grounds for 
this as they were working Edison patents, but so were 
their opponents at the same time. The Edison-Bell 
at once countered with a heavy stroke. They announced 
in the clearest terms that " all Edison patents, together 
with others of importance within the United Kingdom, 
relating to the modern Phonograph were purchased 
by the Edison Corporation, Ltd., for the sum of 40,000, 
and that in the purchase deeds of this transaction it 
was agreed that the first word of its trading name 
should be EDISON." The challenge having been thrown 
down long litigation followed, which did not tend to 
the enhancement of prosperity in the cylinder trade. 
In the midst of the turmoil caused by the opposing 
companies the disc people were strengthening their 



THE DISC MACHINE 41 

hands. Factors and dealers were looking this way and 
that in a state of bewilderment, and presently conceived 
that their surest hope of salvation lay in the support of 
the non-combatant. So the disc scored while the 
Kilkenny cats of the cylinder were tearing each other 
to death. 

It is interesting to observe that about this time there 
were efforts made to establish a trade in the commercial 
phonograph. The Edison-Bell Company had already 
been endeavouring to force the market with their 
Dictaphone. Then there was registered the Shorthand 
Record Company, an enterprise which brought out a 
series of records for dictation purposes in conjunction 
with the teaching of stenography. The Linguaphone, 
too, was an instrument designed for the teaching of 
languages, but the public was not ready for it, and 
neither of these projects had a very long life. Now- 
adays, when the desire for the acquirement of foreign 
tongues has been greatly stimulated by the war, there 
are being issued quantities of educational discs, and the 
matter is being taken up in earnest. 

The Columbia Company was now forging ahead with 
fine determination. They had achieved a record of the 
voice of Pope Leo XIII which was in itself a master- 
piece of enterprise, as it ensured the patronage and 
favour of all good Catholics. That was followed by some 
remarkable cylinders of the favourite operatic singers 
of the day, Edouard de Reszke, Scott i, and Campanani, 
with Mesdames Sembrich and Schumann- Heinck. Not 
to be outdone, the Gramophone Company, by this 
time an exceedingly prosperous concern, came out 
with discs of Caruso, Plancon, Scotti, Madame Calve, 
and many others. 

During this period more German records were being 
introduced to the English market in the form of the 



42 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

Beka, the Dacapo and the Favourite. The Fonotipia, 
also came over from Italy, with Messrs C. and J. Ullmann, 
of the Odeon, as agents. The records of these companies 
were all discs and added heavily to the preponderance 
of the balance in favour of that type. The records were 
mostly made here, but the machines marketed by these 
concerns were all Teutonic, stock, lock and barrel. 
Indeed, up till that time there were few talking 
machines of actual British build. 

By far the best season that had then been known in 
the trade since the instrument was brought across the 
Atlantic was the winter of 1906-7. Machines and records 
were plentiful and buyers were many ; but the following 
two years showed a disastrous reverse. The reason 
for this might be found in the unsettled nature of the 
business owing to the competition between the cylinder 
and the disc. The mind of the public was distracted 
between the types and so they bought neither. In 
the general slump the Russell Hunting Company, with 
its cylinder record, was wound up. It was perhaps not 
a bad thing for Mr. Sterling after all, for a little later he 
introduced a disc record under the name Rena, which 
was subsequently absorbed by the Columbia, and Louis 
Sterling found himself at the head of affairs in the whole 
concern. 



CHAPTER V 

MOTORS, SOUND BOXES, HORNS, ETC. 

FROM what has previously been said, it will be under- 
stood that the talking machine, so far as it has yet been 
evolved, requires various appliances and accessories to 
act in conjunction with it before we can get a perfect 
reproduction of the recorded sound. In disc machines 
there must, first of all, be the motor to rotate the record, 
then the turntable on which the record is placed, after 
that the point to follow the grooves and transmit the 
vibrations to the reproducer or sound box, which 
receives the vibrations from the point and passes 
them on, as re-embodied sound, to the amplifier to be 
strengthened in volume and spread abroad. In connec- 
tion with the horn there is also the tone arm which 
carries the sound from the reproducer to the amplifying 
horn, and is a comparatively recent introduction. If we 
look closely into the trade-mark of the Gramophone 
Company, the well-known " His Master's Voice " 
picture, we will see that the sound box is attached to the 
lower portion of the horn without the intervention of 
any tubular apparatus. That was the Berliner system 
when first brought out. There is also in certain gramo- 
phones another attachment, known as the gooseneck, 
which is interposed between the tone arm and the repro- 
ducer, but it is of no value beyond that of convenience 
in placing the needle in its holder and the proper 
adjustment of the sound box. 

Speaking of the motor, we have already stated that 
the first phonographs were hand-driven, then came 
electric power, and after that the smoothly running 
clockwork contrivance. In both types of machine in 
use at present the actuating power is the steel spring, 

43 



44 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

and the object to be attained is the noiseless and per- 
fectly steady movement of the delicate machinery. To 
enter into all the minutiae of the apparatus would 
necessitate a long and technical dissertation upon the 
mechanism which would assuredly prove tedious to the 
majority of our readers. When a man buys a watch 
he does not want to learn the whole process of its 
manufacture. All that he wishes to know is whether 
it will keep correct time, and so it is with the motor of 
a talking machine. The purchaser only desires to be 
assured that it will drive the turntable, or the mandril, 
smoothly, steadily, and without noise. Now, here 
comes an extraordinarily characteristic feature of our 
English idiosyncrasies. Having developed the most 
perfect device for the driving of the phonograph, in the 
shape of the Greenhill motor made by Fitch, we straight- 
way allowed it to slip through our fingers into the hands 
of somebody else. It must be premised that the prin- 
ciple of the motor for both the phonograph and the 
gramophone is the same, the difference being merely a 
matter of design. When the Tainter-Bell and Berliner 
patents expired, and it was seen that the disc was to be 
the machine of the future, the Germans set to work upon 
it with the concentrated vigour which belongs to them. 
It is one of the distinguishing presentments of the 
Teutonic brain that it does not originate, but given the 
groundwork upon which to labour it will forthwith 
produce much fruit of a serviceable nature if not 
of a high quality. The Germans speedily turned out 
cheap motors by the thousand, but presently they were 
beaten by the Swiss, who, after long generations of 
experience in clock and watch making, found the gramo- 
phone requirement a comparatively easy proposition. 
While these foreigners were busy flooding the 
British markets with these products of cheap labour 



MOTORS, SOUND BOXES, HORNS, ETC. 45 

not a single motor was manufactured in England. 
Every machine that was built in this country had a 
foreign motor inside it. This went on until the war 
put a stop to the influx of German goods and restrictions 
were placed upon the importation of Swiss wares. It 
was then that our own manufacturers began to take 
thought. British handicraft had always been the best 
in the world. Why had we permitted Germany and 




By the courtesy of Messrs. J. E. Hough, Ltd 

SINGLE SPRING MOTOR WITH TURNTABLE 

Switzerland to supplant us in the matter of talking 
machine motors ? At that time, however, firms that 
would have started without delay were handicapped 
for the lack of men. Engineers and artificers were 
at the front or engaged upon munitions. There was not 
a craftsman to be had. Nevertheless, several companies 
were formed by men of foresight, and since demobiliza- 
tion began some of the companies have got to work 
and are turning out goods that the Germans or Swiss 
could never compete with. Certain of the bigger machine 
manufacturers, too, are now constructing their own 
motors, instead of importing foreign makes, and we hope 
before long to see every gramophone bearing an English 
name British made in all its parts. 



46 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

A visit to one of the new factories is a most interesting 
experience. It was our privilege not long since to be 
shown over one of the largest of them, where nothing 
but gramophone motors are made on the exact principle 
of mass production a notable post-war enterprise. 

The buildings covered a large area and every depart- 
ment was in full working order. From the store 




THE TRIPLE-SPRING MOTOR UNIT OF A 
COLUMBIA INSTRUMENT 

(Shown inverted to display mechanical parts] 

at one end bars and sheets of the finest steels were issued 
into the main factory where a succession of whirring 
machines absorbed them. Every one of these was 
attended by highly skilled artificers, and as the metal 
was passed along it was shaped and cut into all the 
component parts, spindles, wheels, springs and screws, 
until it was deposited at the far end with every minute 
portion of the motor ready to be assembled. And 
this goes on incessantly during the work hours. There 



MOTORS, SOUND BOXES, HORNS, ETC. 47 

is no break, no waiting for fresh supplies. All 
runs smoothly and with incredible rapidity. To the 
uninitiated eye it seems like magic. 

From this section of the works the finished parts are 
at once transferred to other departments to be polished 
and assembled. The delicate process of assembling is 
almost entirely accomplished by girls and women, 
whose busy fingers are never still. They have all been 
specially trained in this branch and right deftly and 
daintily they perform their work. 

A section which impressed us as strongly as anything 
we saw was the testing-room, where each completed 
motor had to be put through its facings, as it were. 
Gradations of speed have to be accurately determined, 
and as every bit of mechanism is standardized, each 
of the products has to run a stated number of records. 
After that comes a most important function the test 
for silence. The motor which is absolutely noiseless 
is the ideal after which every manufacturer strives, 
and it is amazing how near perfection this object has 
been attained. The persons who perform the test are 
all abnormally acute of hearing and have been specially 
selected on that account. They listen with concen- 
trated attention, and the very slightest buzz is at once 
detected, with the result that the offending motor is 
rejected. As in the past it has been a frequent occur- 
rence for cheap motors to develop noise in running as 
soon as their pristine newness has worn off, it is good 
to see that these British makers pay a peculiar regard 
to the silence test. 

Before we left that factory we learned some important 
facts which will doubtless surprise some of our readers. 
Each motor consists of 84 separate parts, without 
screws. If you include these the number mounts up 
to 189, and everyone of them is turned out in the works, 



48 



THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 



so you can understand why the l^reless fingers of the 
assemblers appear to be so busy. 

We will now proceed to what is undoubtedly the most 
important factor in the reproduction of sound the 
reproducer or sound box, as it is most commonly called. 
Between the original type employed on the phonograph 
and that now used on the disc machine there exists 
a considerable difference, but that, after all, is only in 
detail, the principle being the same 
in both. 

The diaphragm, which is the 
true reproducer, may be made of 
various substances, of which we 
shall speak later. Anyone who 
examines a sound box will have a 
round flat surface presented to 
him, resembling, to a certain 
extent, the dial of a watch. That 
is the diaphragm, and it is the 
vibratory movement of that cir- 
cular surface which causes the 
sound to be sent forth, in fact, 
you might compare it to the 
vocal chords of the machine. 

The box itself is invariably of metal. Other sub- 
stances such as wood and vulcanite have been experi- 
mented upon, but they have been found unsuitable, 
because, being softer, they absorb the sound. Metal, 
too, is more convenient for the exact fitting of the 
parts. The form of the case is almost always round. 
A square one with rounded corners has recently been seen, 
and is said to give good results, but that is altogether 
an exception. The case, which has a circular outlet in 
the centre, having been manufactured, the next step in 
the construction of a reproducer is the setting of the 




By the courtesy of 
Messrs. J. E. Hough, Ltd. 

A TYPICAL SOUND 
BOX 



MOTORS, SOUND BOXES, HORNS, ETC. 49 

diaphragm. Two rubber rings, known as gaskets, are 
inserted round the inner edge of the box in such a 
manner as to grip the diaphragm tightly between them. 
Then comes the fixing of the stylus bar, which is a 
somewhat delicate process. 

To the tyro we would explain that the stylus bar is 
that little arm of steel it may be of other metal but 
steel is the more frequently used which may be seen 
advancing half-way across the face of the diaphragm. 
It will be observed that it does not touch the material 
from the side to the centre, but at the precise point in 
the middle of the circle it is attached to the diaphragm 
substance, having the end more or less bent round for 
that purpose. The function of the stylus bar is to 
impart the vibration to the diaphragm which has 
arisen from the needle running along the track of the 
record. To achieve this the butt of the stylus bar, 
if we may so call it, is mounted on a fulcrum or bridge 
where it receives a rocking motion from the record 
which is instantaneously communicated to the dia- 
phragm at its centre, thus giving the necessary thrust 
and pull of vibration. Every sound box maker has a 
different system for fixing and adjusting the stylus bar 
upon its fulcrum with screws and springs, so that we 
cannot speak of a universal method. New types are 
being invented every day, but it will be hard to 
beat the Exhibition sound box of the Gramophone 
Company. 1 

The back of the case may be made of the same metal 
as the sides, or of aluminium or fibrous material, but 

1 A very competent authority, Mr. Louis Young, maintains 
that there is no need for a fulcrum or springs, and that the same 
result could be achieved if the stylus bar were soldered to the 
rim of the sound box. He gives as his reason that the waves 
are molecular disturbances which would carry through without 
these interventions. 



50 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

great care must be taken that the plate is neither too 
thick nor too thin, else the correct tonal effects will be 
interfered with. There is a round opening in the 
backing to permit the sound to pass through when the 
box is attached to the gooseneck or tone arm. The size 
and weight of the sound box are rather important 
matters, because, in the first place, a heavy reproducer 
will cause much greater wear and tear to records than a 




By the courtesy of the Gramophone Co., Ltd. 
THE EXHIBITION SOUND BOX 

light one, and, in the second, if it be too light it will 
probably fail to enter all the sinuosities of the track 
and on that account give forth an imperfect reproduction. 
In regard to size, it stands to reason that a large dia- 
phragm will reproduce sounds of greater amplitude 
than one smaller, but it is said by experts that what is 
gained in volume is lost in fidelity, and that the big 
diaphragm does not give us the finer shades that have 
been recorded. 

Concerning substances from which diaphragms have 



MOTORS, SOUND BOXES, HORNS, ETC. 51 

been made, there is hardly anything of a hard, and at 
the same time elastic nature which has not been tried. 
Metals of various kinds, woods of all descriptions (includ- 
ing cork), ivory, xylonite, paper, cardboard, mica and 
glass, are among the most common of the materials 
which have been used, and certain fibrous compositions 
have also been employed, with, at least in one instance, 
considerable success. Of all that we have enumerated, 
however, there is none that can equal glass for both 
brilliance and completeness of reproduction. At one 
time it was much in use, but its brittleness and fragility 
have caused it to be discarded in favour of mica. It is 
still, however, largely in use for recording diaphragms, 
in which capacity it is not exposed to the rough treat- 
ment to which sound boxes are submitted by ignorant 
gramophonists. Mica, being of laminated structure, is 
apt to split, which is, of course, a drawback, but careful 
selection and examination of the portions to be employed 
will obviate such occurrences. Our friend Seymour, 
among his countless other experiments, introduced a 
diaphragm of baked carbon sheet, " with remarkable 
results," he says, "as to strength and fidelity of tone, 
but a certain deficiency in brilliancy was noticeable. 
Its greatest success was most conspicuous with records 
of large amplitude." He is convinced, he tells us, that 
an excellent field of research lies in the direction of 
malleable glass for diaphragm use. It is quite evident 
that the last word has not yet been spoken concerning 
sound boxes. 

All the Gramophone Company's machines, and indeed 
almost all machines of quality are now provided with the 
gooseneck attachment which facilitates the changing of 
the needle. It is also claimed for it that it reduces any 
harshness that there may be in the record, but we are 
not altogether confident about that. However, there 

5 (1466E) 



52 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

can be no- gainsaying that it serves its first-mentioned 
purpose well, and is a great convenience in use. 

The tone arm for disc machines did not come into 
general use until about the year 1905. We believe the 
inventor to have been Jensen, but there are others who 
lay claim to the innovation and we will not discuss the 
matter. At all events, some time in the early years of 
the present century the Gramophone Company took out 
a patent for a tapered tone arm jointed to the horn or 
amplifier. The taper in this accessory gave a gradual 
increase in the circumference of the arm from the sound 
box to the joint where it met the horn, thus amplifying 
the sound the whole way, as we see in certain musical 
instruments of the band and orchestra. Previously the 
tone arm had been straight. In the early machines the 
record had borne the whole weight of both sound box 
and horn, but when the tone arm came in vogue the 
horn was supported by a rigid bracket firmly screwed 
to the cabinet and the tone arm swung free. 

In 1906 the Gramophone Company brought an action 
against Messrs. C. and J. Ullmann, who were running 
the Odeon, for infringement of their tone arm patent. 
The case caused much excitement in the talking 
machine world, because at that time the contest between 
cylinder and disc was at its height. Counsel argued 
learnedly on both sides and experts were called as 
witnesses by each litigant, but the Gramophone Com- 
pany lost the day, with the result that anyone who 
chose could use the tapered arm. We fancy that nowa- 
days, the only manufacturing companies that do not use 
it are the Columbia, who employ an arm fashioned at 
its curve in the shape of a cornet, and Pathe Freres and 
the Aeolian, their arms being straight. 

Tone arms are chiefly made of metal, aluminium being 
high in favour because of its lightness, but another of 



MOTORS, SOUND BOXES, HORNS, ETC. 53 

Mr. Seymour's inventions has been the employment 
of a closely grained wood tube between the sound box 
and the second elbow. This, he maintains, is an improve- 
ment, and we see no reason to disagree with him after 
the change that has taken place by the substitution 
of the wood horn for the old-fashioned tin. The manu- 
facture of tone arms is another of those industries 
which was mainly in the hands of the German, but 
several firms have recently added this to other 
kinds of metal work in the Midlands and are doing 
uncommonly well. 1 

The taste of the public seems now to run upon horn- 
less machines of all sorts, and beautiful specimens 
of the cabinet maker's art are displayed on all sides, 
camouflaging the real instrument. Some of these 
disguised gramophones cost as much as two or three 
hundred pounds, and even more, the purchaser being 
mulcted to that extent, not because of the superior 
quality of the machine itself, but by reason of its appear- 
ance as an article of furniture. To our mind the principle 
of the concealed horn is an entire mistake. By the 
irrefragible law of acoustics the tendency of sound is to 
rise. What has now become the old-fashioned horn 
diffused the sound throughout the apartment. The 
concealed horn turns the sound down and it is emitted 
through an opening in the body of the cabinet, which 
may be closed or open. A frequent method is not to 

1 We have quite recently seen a square wood tone arm in 
connection with a hornless gramophone. It gives fairly good 
results, but is not yet on the market. Another type is made of 
hollowed beech, in two sections, smoothly polished inside and 
out. It has just been brought out and is known as the " All 
Wood " tone arm. Great difficulty was experienced by the 
inventor in getting the tapered bore round the angle, but success 
came to him at last, and the accessory promises to be of great 
service. Used with a wooden amplifier all the disagreeable 
metallic sound will disappear. 



54 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

have a horn at all but a sound chamber which is of any 
shape that the exigencies of space determine. If the 
space be square the sound will reverberate from side to 
side and become confused. Besides, being confined, the 
sound must necessarily be restricted. It cannot give the 
value in volume which was obtained from the open horn. 
The best kind of open horn is, of course, that made of 
wood. It does away with the harsh, metallic sound 




A TYPICAL TABLE GRAND MODEL OF 
THE COLUMBIA GRAFONOLA 

which the early trumpets invariably gave forth, and was 
in a great measure the cause of the prejudice which 
formerly existed against the instrument. With a good 
wood horn, and the best makes of other accessories, the 
gramophone is not an instrument to be ashamed of, 
and we see no reason why one should wish to hide his 
talking machine under another guise a view shared, 
we know, by several manufacturers, who, however, 
have had to bow to the public demand for the cabinet 
type. 



MOTORS, SOUND BOXES, HORNS, ETC. 55 

One of the most indispensable accessories of the 
gramophone is the needle. In the cylinder machine it 
is permanently affixed to the diaphragm in the form of 
a sapphire or diamond point, but in the case of the disc 
machine it is, except with phono-cut records, a separate 
entity. Its duty is to follow the sound waves which 
have been transformed into sinuosities in the bed of the 
track and transmit the vibrations to the sound box, 
where, as we have seen, these vibrations are reconverted 
into sound by the diaphragm and sent out through the 
tone arm and amplifier to the world at large. The needle, 
then, is the first link in the chain between the record and 
the human ear. 

Many are the varieties of needles employed in the 
reproduction of sound, the most common of all being 
the short slip of steel wire sharpened to a point. These 
are now manufactured in their thousands of millions and 
are sold in boxes containing a hundred. Redditch, 
which is the centre of the sewing needle and fish-hook 
industry, took up the gramophone needle business as 
soon as the makers found there was a demand for 
these small wares, and has thus added considerably to 
its prosperity. Sheffield, too, has done well out of them, 
and there are small factories in other parts of the 
country. 

Every record manufacturing company now send out 
their own needles, but in the days when the Berliner disc 
was first introduced to this country the purchaser of a 
machine had to be content with a single, solitary needle 
to play all records of the new class. One of the earliest 
gramophone users in the United Kingdom has told us 
that in the year 1893 he bought a Berliner " gramma- 
phon," as the word was then spelt, and along with it 
received the precious steel needle. This he kept for 
three years, sharpening it occasionally on emery cloth. 



56 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

When it defied sharpening he took to sewing needles. 
What the state of that gentleman's records must have 
been we dread to think. 

When the Gramophone Company began to trade in disc 
machines in this country at the commencement of this 
century, they sold their needles separately, but they 
were all of one class, loud toned and giving a coarse 
reproduction. Soon afterwards it was discovered that 
a great deal depended upon the needle in tone-value, 
in true verisimilitude and in volume. Experiments 
were made and different kinds of the steel needle were 
manufactured, loud toned, soft toned, medium toned, and 
so forth. Disc enthusiasts changed their needles for 
each class of record, a certain needle for voice reproduc- 
tion, another for instrumental, and still another for 
bands and orchestras. Some went as far as to use 
special needles for each kind of voice, soprano, contralto, 
tenor and bass, and also for solo instruments, violin, 
piano, etc. We are told that a few dilletanti do so 
regularly now and doubtless they are on the right 
side. 

The great drawback to the steel needle is that it should 
never be used more than once. Some benighted people, 
seeing directions to that effect upon the box, imagine 
it to be a dodge to sell more needles, but they were never 
more mistaken in their lives. If they desire to keep 
their records from wearing out rapidly it is essential 
that the needle should be changed with every disc 
placed upon the turntable. The record is made of an 
exceedingly hard, though somewhat brittle, material. 
The track upon the surface, if extended in a straight line, 
would measure several hundred feet. The point has 
to traverse the whole of that distance, and must 
necessarily become worn in doing so. If it were worn 
evenly it would not so much matter, but the mischief 



MOTORS, SOUND BOXES, HORNS, ETC. 



57 



of it is that it is not. As the record revolves the needle 
is pressed inwardly against the side of the groove, and 
the point is ground flat where the pressure takes place. 
As it gradually nears the centre of the disc the needle 
becomes more upright and the pressure is not so great, 
but in assuming its new position it presents an edge to 
the side of the track which cuts into the substance, 




By the courtesy of Messrs. J. E. Hough, Ltd. 

UNUSED CHROMIC NEEDLE RUNNING- IN GROOVE 
(Microscopically enlarged by James Scott) 

hard though it be. When this needle is used again and 
starts at the outside of the record it will be at a slightly 
different angle, and the cutting process will begin 
immediately. There was a splendid article upon this 
subject in the Talking Machine News some time ago 
by Mr. James Scott, the well-known microscopist, with 
greatly magnified drawings of the damage done as seen 
under the microscope. If every gramophone user were 
to read that article and examine those illustrations he 



58 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

would never submit a record to the same needle a second 
time. 

In the year 1908 a Mr. Frederick Durize Hall, of 
Chicago, took out a patent for what he called a " fibre " 
needle, the material of which it is made being a fibrous 
vegetable substance, " preferably bamboo." This 
" preferably bamboo," we suppose, means that the patent 




By the courtesy of Messrs J. E. Hough, Ltd. 
NEEDLES SHOWING WEAR BY CONTACT WITH RECORD 

should cover all types of fibre needles, but we don't 
think that it would. Anyhow, bamboo is the " vegetable 
substance " of which all these styli are formed, and for 
the last nine or ten years a miniature war has been 
waged between the supporters of the old-fashioned 
steel needle and the followers of the new cult. There 
can be no doubt that the army of the latter is increasing. 
Recruits are coming in every day and the fibre has 
gained a firm footing in the gramophone world. The 
shape of this needle is triangular and the point is formed 



MOTORS, SOUND BOXES, HORNS, ETC. 59 

by a slanting cross section so that one of the angles fits 
into the groove of the record. In using this fibre 
stylus it is necessary to have a triangular hole cut, 
instead of the usual round one, in the needle socket of 
the sound box, because the little screw of the holder will 
not give a sufficiently firm grip. Having this done, 
however, spoils the holder for future use with the steel 
needle. To obviate this disadvantage Mr. Daws Clarke, 
of Manchester, has patented an ingenious little fitment, 
known as the Needle Tension Attachment, by which 
either the steel or the fibre needle may be rendered 
perfectly rigid. This invention gives an improved tone 
to reproduction no matter which kind of needle is 
used. There is also another accessory we have seen, 
with a short round shank to fit in the round needle 
hole, and a triangular cutting at the other end for the 
fibre. 

To those who prefer a soft, and even reproduction, 
with a diminution of surface scratch, to the loud, and 
sometimes strident, tones of the steel needle, the fibre 
is certainly to be recommended, but there is an imper- 
fection in it that cannot be disguised. It will not last 
more than one side of the record through without 
re-sharpening, and we have found it fail to play a twelve 
inch record satisfactorily to the end, which is most 
annoying. Several little implements have been brought 
out to effect the repointing, the best of which we consider 
to be the Wade, a pliers like tool which is so set that 
a blade snips off the point at the correct angle. 

While on the subject of the fibre needle we may 
mention that not long ago we had some ordinary hedge- 
row thorns sent to us as samples by a gentleman who is 
the secretary of one of our most prosperous talking 
machine societies and a great enthusiast. These had been 
cut, trimmed and dried, and though their appearance 



60 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

might have been a little crude they gave forth a 
reproduction almost as good as the vaunted fibre needle. 
Under these circumstances there is no reason why every 
gramophonist should not become his own needle provider. 

There is another natural needle of which we have 
heard excellent accounts, but it belongs to the animal 
and not the vegetable kingdom. That is the hedgehog 
spine. We have never listened to a record played by 
this singular stylus, but we were in conversation with a 
gentleman not long ago who had been spending a 
holiday in Devonshire and had heard many reproduc- 
tions by means of these sharp-pointed quills. His report 
of them is entirely favourable. He tells us that he 
believes them to be better than the fibre needle and that 
the reproduction lasts longer. 

To return to the steel needle, there is a variant of it 
in the spear-point, of which there are a good many 
varieties. The advantage of this is that it may be used 
in three or four different ways. Having played a record 
through with the flat of the spear head at right angles 
to the groove you turn it round and get the other side 
to work. That finished, by a half turn you get the 
flanges parallel with the track, and you can repeat the 
operation for the remaining side. It is said that by 
these four turns the two double-sided records which they 
cover do not suffer, but we " ha'e oor doots." 

Besides the sapphire and diamond tipped styli used 
for phono-cut records which are permanently attached 
to the sound box, there was put upon the market some 
years ago a diamond pointed needle shaped not unlike 
a very small peg-top with a thin shank to fit into the 
ordinary holder, and we understand a needle of the same 
description with a glass point was also tried, but the 
difficulty and expense of manufacture proved too 
great, though the points were practically everlasting. 



MOTORS, SOUND BOXES, HORNS, ETC. 61 

Tungsten wire fitted into a nickel sheath is the latest 
thing for the needle-cut disc. The first of these that we 
saw came to us all the way from Chile, some two or three 
years ago, but we were not greatly impressed by it. 
Since then the Gramophone Company have brought out 
a similar stylus, under the name of the Tungstyle Needle, 
but in our opinion it will not be a success. The repro- 
duction by it is thin and hard like the needle itself, and 
though it is guaranteed to play something like a hundred 
and fifty records without the necessity of changing, 
we don't believe it will ever take the place of a good 
soft steel point. Tungsten, of course, is ever so much 
harder than steel, and its wearable quality is therefore 
vastly superior, but there the advantage of the tungstyle 
stops. There are hard steel needles issued by various 
manufacturers which will play up to ten records without 
wear, but we never heard any of these that we cared 
for. The tone has always been too metallic. The 
Chromic needle, issued by J. E. Hough, Ltd., is, however, 
a good one. It is of a golden hue and will play its ten 
records without fail. As good a needle as we know is 
the Ideal belonging to the Columbia Company, and this 
we most frequently use for the sample records submitted 
to us for review, this being a soft-tone (piano), though 
we believe the same company's loud- tone (forte) 
" Superbe " needle is most popular generally. 

The war between the fibre and the steel needle still 
goes on, and we daresay will continue to go on till some 
new material is discovered combining the good qualities 
of both. Until then we shall remain strictly neutral. 



CHAPTER VI 

HOW GRAMOPHONE RECORDS ARE MADE 

ONCE upon a time we had our voice recorded upon a 
disc, so that we can tell from personal experience what 
the initiatory process is like. It was about ten years 
ago and we had perpetrated what in our secret soul we 
imagined to be a poem. We daresay it was poor stuff, 
but, as the subject was topical, the manager of a certain 
company believed it might have an ephemeral sale, 
which would pay for the production and a bit more, 
so we were persuaded to have it embalmed in shellac. 
As a matter of fact the record was a dead failure, not 
from the recording point of view, but because it was 
actually too late for the market. The presumably 
wretched verses, we may tell you, were recited not 
sung. 

Having ascended an interminable number of stairs 
we found ourselves in an absolutely bare apartment 
save for a single music stand. A tall, stout young 
gentleman he is now one of the greatest recording 
experts in the world came to us and in an affable 
manner announced that everything was ready. He 
pointed to a long trumpet-like tube which projected 
from the wall and directed us to take up our position in 
front of it with our mouth about 6 ins. from the opening. 
" When the light shows," he said " you can fire away." 
Then he left us alone. It was desperately uncanny, 
but we braced ourselves for the inevitable. 

Presently the light flashed, and we spouted for all 
we were worth to an unseen audience. Half-way through 
we made a slip and immediately the light signalled. 

62 



HOW GRAMOPHONE RECORDS ARE MADE 63 

The young gentleman spoke from the other side of the 
wall. " It's a pity," he remarked; " you were doing 
very well, but I've got another blank." 

After a time the light flashed once more and we started 
from the beginning as before. Straight through we 
went to the end without a falter, and then there came 
from beyond the partition the order to wait a minute. 
We waited till all at once there broke upon our ear from 
the other end of the horn an unknown voice repeating 
the rhymes we had previously uttered on the spoiled 
record. It was most curious, but it did not sound to 
ourselves as our own voice. Robert Burns says, " Oh, 
wad some power the giftie gi'e us to ^ee oorsels as 
ithers see us," but the gramophone has now brought to 
us the power of hearing ourselves as others hear us, 
and the result is not in the least like that which we had 
imagined. We are deceived by our own tones. Our 
friends hear them in quite a different key from that 
in which we believe them to be uttered ; at least, that 
was our first impression on listening to them. After- 
wards, when we became accustomed to the record, the 
strange feeling wore off. 

For a few minutes we stood in the bare room waiting 
for further developments, and then the recorder returned 
to us. In his open hands he carried the wax wherein 
was deposited our poem with all its imperfections. 

" I believe I've got you all right," he said, and we 
put on our glasses and gazed upon the thing he held. 
There was nothing to be seen except the crowded grooves 
upon the substance he displayed to us. We intimated 
that we were satisfied, and shaking hands with the man 
who had taken irrevocable possession of our voice, we 
descended the long, long stairs and so to the busy street. 

A few days afterwards catastrophe befell. A wire 
called us back to the recording room. In the process of 



64 



THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 



manufacture the wax master had been damaged, and 
the whole operation of recording had to be repeated. 
This delayed the issue of the disc and the market 
was lost. For that reason our poem has not gone down 
to posterity, and we remain a " mute inglorious Milton." 
All recordings, however, are not performed in the 




SIR HENRY J. WOOD CONDUCTING THE NEW QUEEN S 
HALL ORCHESTRA FOR A COLUMBIA RECORD 



simple fashion we have described. There are the vocal 
records of duets, trios, quartettes and choruses to be 
made, with their accompaniments. Then we have 
bands and orchestras. All the great military bands, 
Grenadiers, Coldstreams, Scots Guards, Irish Guards 
and Welsh Guards are constantly being recorded, and 
to pack these big organizations into a recording room 
requires a good deal of ingenuity. The performers, 
too, must be placed in such positions that no single 



HOW GRAMOPHONE RECORDS ARE MADE 65 

instrument must predominate, the just ensemble 
must be preserved. Experience has taught how this 
is to be adjusted, and the conductor who has had a good 
knowledge of the recording room will generally settle 
his men down or up without much difficulty. 

When a large body of musicians have to make a record 
there are often three or four recording horns employed, 
converging on a point in the partition for the purpose 
of collecting the sound waves and concentrating them 
upon the diaphragm. It will at once be perceived that 
in this way a fuller reproduction can be accomplished. 

There are certain musical instruments which have 
proved very baffling to the recorder. For many years 
the violin and the piano were both enormous stumbling 
blocks. Indeed, it is only quite recently that the latter 
has been brought into subjection. Formerly the notes 
of a piano, as heard on the talking machine, seemed to 
emanate from a banjo, but now, by dint of careful 
experiment and enlarged experience, the recording 
expert has brought the reproduction as close to perfec- 
tion as the gramophone up to the present time can bring 
it. We listened a few weeks ago to a record from which 
was reproduced a piece by Saint Sae'ns, played by the 
great French pianist, M. Alfred Cortot, in which the 
exact tones of a grand piano were given without the 
slightest difference from the instrument, save for the 
inevitable surface scratch. It is now the same with the 
violin. 

In November, 1920, there arrived in this country 
from America eight records by that amazing Russian 
youth, Jascha Heifetz. A party of the greatest musicians 
and critics in this country was called together at the 
Piccadilly Hotel to hear them. Those experts were 
astounded at the marvellous technique of the young 
executant he was then only nineteen so much so, 



66 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

indeed, that one of the most noted composers of England 
dubbed him " the modern Paganini." Six months later 
Heifetz himself reached London to give four perform- 
ances in as many weeks at the Queen's Hall. At the 
first of these there was a great gathering of the cognoscenti. 
Next morning the worst one of our leading dailies could 
find to say against the youthful virtuoso was that he 
played exactly like his records. It was intended for 
disparagement, but could a greater tribute have been 
paid to the gramophone ? Incidentally we may mention 
that, before Heifetz set his foot on British soil, the 
Gramophone Company, of Hayes, Middlesex the great 
concern which manufactures and issues the famous 
" His Master's Voice" discs had sold no fewer than 
70,000 of his records ! This is an extraordinary -fact, 
and illustrates very clearly the vast development of the 
talking machine industry in this country within recent 
years. 

To get behind the scenes of the recording room, that 
is, into the sanctum sanctorum of the recorder, is a very 
difficult matter, for the secrets there are most jealously 
guarded. It has been our privilege, however, to be 
admitted into one of these inner sanctuaries, and, 
without giving away any of the hidden technicalities 
of the process we witnessed, for each recorder has his 
own individual methods, we can give a general description 
which will not reveal more than is necessary. 

On stepping into the private domain of the recording 
expert we were at once sensible of a considerable rise 
in the temperature. We read in a newspaper the other 
day that this access of heat is perceptible in the outer 
room, but we cannot say that, on the occasion of 
our first visit, when we made the record of which we 
have spoken, we experienced the slightest change. 
However, we dare say, if the exterior recording room 



HOW GRAMOPHONE RECORDS ARE MADE 67 

be crowded with a band, orchestra, or full chorus the 
atmosphere would become somewhat stifling. There 
is no necessity for the public room, as we may call it, to 
be artificially heated, but it is different with the inner 
chamber. There the temperature must be maintained 
at a certain height because the wax of the blanks has 
to be of the requisite consistency for the recording 
needle to run smoothly. These blanks are kept in 
warmed cupboards around the room, and when the 
operator is at work they must be in perfect condition. 
Several of them may be spoiled in the making of a record, 
when they have afterwards to be submitted to a process 
of " shaving " by a special instrument invented for the 
purpose. 

Although we play on the talking machine with one 
sound box for all manner of records, in the cutting of the 
blank many different sound boxes are used. Thus the 
recorder will employ one for soprano, another for 
contralto, and so on, varying his reproducers as experience 
has taught him. It is wonderful what a variety are 
necessary. For instance, a sound box which will make a 
perfect reproduction of a violin solo will be of no use in 
recording a string quartette, so one can imagine the 
years of close study and intense application which the 
expert must go through before he is qualified to make a 
record of a Caruso or a Heifetz. There are not many 
highly skilled recorders, and it is not needful that there 
should be, for the record manufacturers in this country 
are few and far between ; but when once a manufac- 
turing firm has found an expert who is thoroughly 
capable it is very loth to let him go, so that most of these 
truly scientific gentlemen may reckon upon high salaries 
and continuous service. 

In making a record it is absolutely incumbent upon the 
recording machine being completely stable, for the 

& (1466E) 



68 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

slightest vibration of the stylus other than that imparted 
by the diaphragm will render the reproduction worth- 
less. Therefore, not only must the turntable on which 
the blank is imposed run freely and steadily, but the 
supports must be immovable, so that no tremor can 
reach the wax while the stylus is doing its work. The 
motive power varies in different recording rooms. 
Some prefer an electric motor, while others use weight- 
driven mechanism like those of the old-fashioned 
grandfather's clocks, but heavier. The latter was the 
system in vogue with the firm whose room we were 
allowed to inspect. They claim that the movement is 
steadier, though even then, delicately balanced 
governors are adjusted to ensure invariability. 

We have previously mentioned that the recording 
diaphragm is almost always of glass, as it is the substance 
most amenable to the action of the sound waves. A 
lever attachment fits it to the cutting point, which is in 
nearly every case a jewel that has been most carefully 
treated for the purpose of performing its work with the 
utmost exactitude. 

The wax blank having been selected, dusted to remove 
every particle of foreign matter and placed upon the 
turntable, the recorder gives the signal and the pianist 
in the next room begins the symphony to a song. The 
artist follows with the air and all the time the blank is 
spinning with the turntable. We watch it with a 
sort of fascination. Thin threads of composition curl 
up from the jewel point and are blown off as 
they rise, till presently the song is finished, and the 
vacant space on the wax has become covered with 
the grooves that are so familar to us on the finished 
record. 

On the day we visited the company's premises the 
artist who was engaged was a well-known lady singer, 



HOW GRAMOPHONE RECORDS ARE MADE 69 

who is a great favourite among gramophone users. She 
has made many records and is quite accustomed to the 
horn, yet the expert would not allow the first to pass. 
He put it through on the wax, but it would not satisfy 
him, and it was not until he had taken the third or fourth 
of the same song, that he gave a kind of grumbling 
consent to let it go. You see, these gentlemen are so 
very exacting. 

When, at last, he was to a certain extent pleased, he 
took up the wax, went over it carefully with a camel's 
hair brush and packed it in a box with cotton wool. 
It was ready to be dispatched to the factory. 

That was the whole of our recording room experience, 
but it was only the beginning of the adventures of the 
disc. It had still to go through several processes before 
it emerged from the factory a fully developed record. 
Some of these we have attempted to explain in our chap- 
ter on the Disc Machine, but there will be no harm in 
laying the whole process before our readers succinctly 
and clearly before we pass on to other matters. 

As soon as the wax record, which is called the master, 
arrives at the factory it is plunged into the electrotyping 
bath which deposits on its surface a copper coating 
that enters into every twist and wriggle made by the 
recording needle within the grooves. These, of course, 
represent the sound waves passed on by the vibrations 
of the diaphragm. When this coating is sufficiently 
thick it is removed and brings with it the exact impres- 
sion of the wax reversed. This forms a complete mould 
and might be used as such, as, indeed, it was at one 
time, but so many accidents by breakage and such 
like took place that nowadays the companies run no 
risks. Other wax impressions are made from it which 
in their turn are electrotyped, so that several matrices 
are formed, which are then nickel-plated, polished and 



70 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

receive a strong backing of heavy steel as a support. 
They are then ready for the presses. Before going into 
that, however, we may as well tell you about the 
substance that is pressed into the moulds. 

Recently there has been a good deal of grumbling 
about the advanced prices of records, and some of the 
manufacturing companies have explained that the 
chief contributing cause of this has been the enormously 
increased cost of shellac. Numbers of the public wanted 
to know what shellac had to do with it, being com- 
pletely unaware that shellac is the principal ingredient 
in the manufacture of disc records. Many believed 
that the discs, with their beautifully polished surfaces, 
were made of vulcanite. In fact, a friend of ours only 
the other day was so convinced of this that he offered 
to lay pretty heavy odds that they were. It was a 
difficult matter to undeceive him, and not until we 
produced a book on the subject would he admit that he 
was wrong. The actual ingredients are shellac, the 
mineral barytes, rotten stone, flock (made from rags) 
and lamp-black. Different companies use these com- 
ponents in varying quantities, but if the records be 
analysed they will all be found to consist of each of these 
substances. They are ground together and then passed 
through heated rollers which melt the shellac, with the 
result that the whole becomes a soft black paste which 
hardens when cold, and is then broken up into square 
pieces. 

When the discs pass into the pressing room the steel 
backing is laid upon a heated table with the mould 
upwards, and the label of the record is placed face 
downwards against the centre of the mould. A few 
pieces of the hard black preparation are then heated 
until they soften, when they are transferred to the warm 
disc. If a single-sided record be desired a steel plate 



HOW GRAMOPHONE RECORDS ARE MADE 71 

of the size of the under disc is placed on the top, but if 
the record is to be double-faced, another mould is placed 
face downwards over the black material, with the label 
between. The pair are then moved into a powerful 
hydraulic press and the black composition is flattened 
out to the thickness of the record, working itself into 
every groove and infinitesimal sinuosity by the pressure 
placed upon it. When it cools it is quite hard and only 
requires trimming, which is done by placing the record 
between two revolving discs and applying sandpaper 
to the whirling edge. The labels have adhered to the 
centre of the record by reason of the sticky nature of 
the shellac, and the records are then carried off to the 
examiner who tests them. The inferior ones are rejected 
and those which are passed are placed in the envelopes 
for the market. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE BIG MANUFACTURING COMPANIES 

IN England at the present time there are four com- 
panies manufacturing the higher priced records. Of 
these The Gramophone Company, Ltd., undoubtedly 
holds the field. The history of this extensive concern 
has already been referred to cursorily in a previous 
chapter, but we would like to lay before the reader a 
more comprehensive chronicle of its origin and rise. 

Like most of the other large firms engaged in the 
industry The Gramophone Company began its career 
in America. As previously stated, Berliner was the 
man who gave the term " gramophone " to his invention 
of a disc machine, though he never claimed an exclusive 
right thereto. In 1896 or 1897 Berliner sold his English 
patent rights, including, it is said, his rights in respect 
of certain patented improvements, to a private firm 
calling itself The Gramophone Company, taking its 
name from the instrument. In 1899 this concern 
transferred its business to a company incorporated 
under the style of The Gramophone Company, Limited, 
the object of which, as defined by its Memorandum of 
Association, embraced, inter alia, the manufacture and 
sale of gramophones and phonographs and gramophone 
discs and phonograph cylinders. The last mentioned 
firm continued to sell machines and discs made under 
Berliner's patent until the following year, when it 
parted with its business to a company with a larger 
capital. This new concern had about the same time 
acquired an interest in typewriters, and was incorporated 
as The Gramophone and Typewriter Company, Limited. 

72 



THE BIG MANUFACTURING COMPANIES 73 

The same year the Tainter-Bell patent expired, and the 
graving method being considered superior to etching, 
the company abandoned the latter process and adopted 
the former, continuing, however, to use the name of 
gramophone. There was nothing wrong in that, for 
the essence of the Berliner system was the sinuous 
line of even depth and the word " gramophone " had 
come to denote a disc talking machine, as opposed to the 
phonograph and graphophone which were at that time 
operated by cylinders. 

The Gramophone and Typewriter Company estab- 
lished a branch in England almost as soon as it was 
inaugurated, with Mr. Barry Owen as its representative, 
and some time afterwards dropped the typewriter 
section of the business, reverting to the old title of The 
Gramophone Company, Ltd. They had their offices in 
Maiden Lane, Co vent Garden, and so rapid was the 
growth of this British branch that a company was 
formed with a share capital of 600,000, the ordinary 
shares in the first instance being offered to the trade. 
Thereupon they removed to the City Road where they 
remained in full swing until the extensive works at 
Hayes, Middlesex, which were opened in 1907, were 
ready to receive the army of workers of every description 
attached to the firm. This enormous factor}/ has been 
enlarged and developed since that date until it now 
covers twenty-three acres of ground. 

Ever since the expiry of Berliner's 1887 patent The 
Gramophone Company had arrogated to itself the sole 
right to the term " gramophone." In its dealings with 
the trade it had consistently claimed monopoly rights 
in the word as denoting goods of its own manufacture 
only, and by warning circulars, legal proceedings and 
threats of legal proceedings, had done its best to support 
its exclusive claims. Other manufacturers refrained 



74 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

from describing their instruments as gramophones 
from the dread of infringing the alleged rights of the 
company. The gigantic bubble, however, was destined 
to be pricked. 

In the year 1910 the company applied for power to 
register the term " gramophone " as applicable solely 
to the wares manufactured and dealt in by them. The 
most memorable case ever heard of in the talking 
machine world of this country ensued. It came before 
Mr. Justice Parker and lasted four days. Experts, 
legal and otherwise, were called, examined and cross- 
examined. The court was crammed with all the 
leading lights of the trade, who were there either as 
witnesses or as spectators. At length judgment was 
pronounced Power was refused, and the word " gramo- 
phone " became the property of anyone who had a 
disc machine to sell. A verbatim note of the whole 
proceedings was taken at the time by the Talking 
Machine News, and was published the morning after 
judgment was delivered. It was the only paper that 
printed the case in extenso. 

In legal matters The Gramophone Company have been 
rather unfortunate, for previous to the case we have 
spoken of they lost one over the Gibson tapering tone arm 
in 1906. This was an invention for which they claimed 
sole rights. These were disputed and the action went 
against them. Nevertheless, if they have been unlucky 
in the courts it cannot be denied they have been mar- 
vellously successful in business. Before the war there 
were subsidiary companies in various capitals of Europe, 
and they were connected with the great Victor Company 
of America, which has now a large controlling interest 
in the concern. The Zonophone Company, too, has been 
absorbed by this firm. 

During the war a portion of the huge factory at 



THE BIG MANUFACTURING COMPANIES 75 

Hayes, the foundation-stone of which, by the way, was 
laid by Madame Tetrazzini, was given over to the 
manufacture of munitions. It is believed that The 
Gramophone Company was the first industrial concern, 
not normally engaged on Government contracts, to 
convert their plant. Within ten days of the declaration 
of war, the output of certain essential fuse parts was 
commenced. These required extraordinary accuracy 
and the mechanism at command of the company enabled 
them to make a beginning almost at once. 

Of the artists exclusively engaged to make the famous 
" His Master's Voice " records for the company we shall 
speak later, and in the chapter devoted to the " Talking 
Machine as a Teacher " we shall have something to say 
of the firm's efforts in that direction. 

In 1899 The Columbia Phonograph Company was 
established in Washington, U.S.A., thus it may be 
said to be among the very earliest of the concerns to 
enter the industry, and it has been one of the most 
successful. As early as 1887, however, the parent 
company of the Columbia, and literally the pioneers in 
the industry, had put machines and cylinders on the 
market under licence from Bell and Tainter. Being 
unable to carry out some of their contracts, the American 
Company made arrangements with several others in the 
various States to act as sales-agents, while the original 
company limited their efforts to the manufacturing side. 
The Columbia Company secured one of these sales-agen- 
cies, and were restricted by agreement to the three States 
of Columbia, Delaware and Maryland. This restriction 
did not last long, however, for the prosperity of the 
Columbia was such that presently it ousted all the 
other agencies, extending its business throughout the 
whole of the United States. Not content with that, 
it opened branches all over the world and subsequently 



76 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

swallowed up the American Graphophone Company itself. 
Here it may be noted that, as we fancy we have men- 
tioned before, it was T. H. Macdonald, of the Grapho- 
phone Company, who perfected the spring motor. Up 
till then electricity had been used for the driving power, 
but with the clockwork mechanism methods were 
simplified and the cost of machines considerably 
cheapened. 

When the Columbia Company removed their chief 
offices from Washington to New York, Mr. Frank 
Dorian was placed in charge as general manager. This 
move occasioned a vast expansion of trade and Mr. 
Dorian was sent to Paris to superintend the establish- 
ment of the European connection . His energy proved 
invaluable. Rapid strides were made in Paris and a 
branch was soon opened in Berlin. The following year 
the London business was reorganized and its head- 
quarters formed in a five storey building in Oxford 
Street This was made the controlling centre for Europe, 
and Columbia was flourishing like the green bay tree, 
Later their swiftly developing progress warranted a 
removal to larger premises in Great Eastern Street, 
closer to the seat of the British trade which lies in that 
neighbourhood. At that time, of course, their records 
were all cylinders, but they were doing admirable work. 
It was about this time that they contrived to obtain 
a record of the voice of Pope Leo XIII, a circumstance 
which we have already noted. It was issued almost on 
the very day of the venerable Pontiff's death, and so 
made a great sensation in Catholic circles. They also 
secured some valuable cylinders of famous singers of 
the time, and set a fashion later developed by the discs 
of the Gramophone Company. 

Finding that, in England, the disc was supersed- 
ing the cylinder, the Columbia built a factory at 



THE BIG MANUFACTURING COMPANIES 77 

Wandsworth and started manufacturing lateral cut 
records. It was an excellent step on their part, for they 
got hold of some of the best voices and instrumentalists 
in the kingdom and their productions had a great 
vogue. This company has played a conspicuous part 
in the fortunes of the industry here, doing excellent 
pioneer work in various directions, and aiming to 
elevate the public taste in gramophone music. 

With the advent of Mr. Louis Sterling as European 
manager of the company fresh life was imparted into 
the business, and their instruments, the celebrated 
Grafonolas, have a great sale, while the records find 
purchasers by the million. The Regal, a cheaper 
record, is also issued by them and is much appreciated 
by gramophone users whose purses are not so well 
filled as those of the purchasers of the higher grade 
Columbia. 

Pathe Freres, who had been doing a very large con- 
tinental trade, came into the English market in 1902. 
By the exercise of a little ingenuity, aided by Mr. J. E. 
Hough, they had previously circumvented the Edison 
embargo. No sooner, however, were they free to export 
their goods from France to England than they began to 
do an extensive trade with us. The Pathe discs are 
phono-cut, i.e. they are of the hill and dale variety 
invented by Edison, and therefore require to be played 
with a special needle. To this end the firm supplies a 
sound box of its own with a permanent attachment of 
a ball-pointed sapphire. Quite recently it has brought 
out a reproducer which by a simple contrivance permits 
of a steel needle to be used for the lateral cut disc as 
well. 

In the early days Pathe records were played from the 
centre outward to the periphery of the disc, but since 
the company erected a British factory on this side 



78 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

the Channel they have reversed their old system and the 
record is now played in the same manner as other discs. 
Those old discs were splendid fellows, nearly 14 ins. 
across and embodied the voices of many of the best 
continental artists. The firm actually prevailed upon 
Sara Bernhardt to record her incomparable tones, and 
in the years to come that disc ought to be worth much 
more than its weight in gold. The records are now 
somewhat reduced in size, conforming more to the 
width of ordinary makes, but the best of them at the 
present time are the most expensive on sale in England. 
It is worthy of mention that Pathe Freres were the first 
to introduce the language-teaching record, and it is 
quite possible that they may revert to this very useful 
method of instruction now that there is a demand for 
easy systems of learning foreign tongues. 1 

Besides building a factory here in England, Messrs. 
Pathe" have established a large business in America, 
which we understand is extremely prosperous. M. 
Jacques Pathe is at the head of affairs in London, and 
is a shrewd and competent director. He fought in the 
war for his country and received high commendation for 
his service. Although it has nothing to do with this 
little book it may not be out of place to state that Pathe 
Freres are a firm with very extensive interests in the 
kinematograph world. The House of Pathe, with its 
defiant chanticleer as a trade-mark has branches in 
every corner of the civilized globe, and its machines and 
discs are familiar to everyone who has the slightest 
knowledge of the reproduction of sound. 

The Aeolian Company of America first came into 
notice as the manufacturers of player-pianos and 

1 Since the above was written, Pathe Freres have brought out 
a needle-cut disc, the Actuelle, which seems to be doing fairly 
well. 



THE BIG MANUFACTURING COMPANIES 79 

instruments of that genre. With untold capital behind 
them they forged ahead with remarkable vigour. A 
fine hall, with magnificent show-rooms and business 
premises, was erected on an advantageous site in New 
York, and as if by magic the great corporation bounded 
into the forefront of the musical manufacturing world. 
But this was not achieved without deep thought and 
careful planning. For a long time there had been active 
brains at work, considering, devising, scheming, and not 
until every action of the future had been thoroughly 
weighed and balanced was a move made. As soon as 
the company felt itself to be on a sound and solid basis 
it mentally bridged the Atlantic and set up an English 
house in Bond Street, London. The Aeolian Hall on 
this side, with its high-class concerts and musical enter- 
tainments, is now one of the most popular features of 
the West End, and the Aeolian Orchestra, a specially 
selected body of musicians, is second to none in the 
kingdom. The spirit of enterprise pervaded the 
minds of all those who were in any way connected with 
the firm, and it was this spirit that brought forth the 
Aeolian- Vocalion, the talking machine which is the 
company's special product. 

We are told that, in the late summer of 1912, there 
arrived in London a Mr. F. J. Empson, a resident of 
Sydney, Australia. He brought with him a gramophone 
in which was embodied a wonderful patented device 
for controlling musical effects. This, in the opinion of 
its inventor, added so immeasurably to the musical 
value and charm of the instrument that he thought he 
had but to show it to manufacturers to secure its immedi- 
ate adoption. As has been the fate of so many geniuses, 
mechanical and otherwise, since the world began, Mr. 
Empson found it impossible to gain a satisfactory audi- 
ence with those whom he approached. Discouraged 



80 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

and depressed he purchased his passage home 
and was on the point of sailing, when he accidentally 
encountered a friend to whom he related his disap- 
pointing experiences. This friend was well acquainted 
with the officials of the Aeolian Company's London house, 
and earnestly advised the poor, disheartened inventor to 
make one more attempt to have his contrivance exploited. 
He told him of the company and directed him to their 
offices. 

With just one faint ray of hope illuminating the 
darkness of his mind, the inventor made his way to Bond 
Street. For the first time since his arrival in England 
the reception that he met with was satisfactory. The 
Aeolian officials were so impressed with the value of 
the new feature that they took an option on the patents, 
and instead of returning to Australia, he and his instru- 
ment were immediately shipped across to the head 
offices of the company in New York. There the directors 
and experts at once grasped the possibilities of the 
invention. Without delay they had the patents investi- 
gated, and on finding them sound and inclusive, closed 
with the inventor on a mutually satisfactory basis. 
Thus was the Aeolian- Vocalion, with its Graduola 
attachment, launched upon the world. 

Apart from the advance made by the company in the 
style of their machines and the accuracy of reproduction 
of all records submitted to the test of the turntable, 
the Aeolian-Vocalion itself was voiceless, which means 
the firm manufactured no records of their own. That 
was to be a big consideration for the future. In the 
meantime the energies of the concern were concentrated 
upon the Graduola. This device obviated the use of 
different toned needles, the muting of horns, the opening 
and closing of shutters, and all the various methods 
which had been adopted of altering the tone of the 



THE BIG MANUFACTURING COMPANIES 81 

gramophone to suit the ear of the listener. It gave 
into the hands of the operator a perfect means of con- 
trolling the reproduction of the record. Modulation of 
the voice of a singer could be governed at the will of 
the gramophone user, and in that way the listener 
could guide to his ear inflexions and variations 
which were more agreeable to him than the actual 
recording. 

It may be said that this principle is altogether wrong, 
and that if you choose to vary the conception of the 
vocalist you do not get the true value of the voice. This 
is undoubtedly quite right, but it very often happens 
that the idea of the listener is at variance with the idea 
of the singer. We know many persons who have no 
liking for the forceful tones of Caruso, but by the use of 
the Graduola these may be so subdued that their beauty 
can be acknowledged and appreciated. The musical 
instinct of the listener imperceptibly directs him while 
he holds the little attachment in his hands. 

The simple contrivance of Mr. Empson, like many 
other inventions, was merely the adaptation of a known 
fact to a new outlet. Everybody knows that air carries 
sound and that if the current be reversed the sound 
becomes fainter. Therein lies the secret of the Graduola. 
A slender, flexible tube connects the gramophone with 
the operator. At the end in the fingers of the manipu- 
lator is a valve which he pushes in or retracts according 
to his personal desire. Thus the sound given forth 
from the machine is regulated at the will of the performer. 
He, or she, can therefore listen to the record in the 
manner desired. It is as simple as A, B, C, but it had 
never been applied to the talking machine before the 
Aeolian-Vocalion made their arrangement with the 
inventor. 

We have spoken of the Aeolian-Vocalion being 



82 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

voiceless, inasmuch as the company produced no records, 
but that deficiency has, happily for all gramophone 
enthusiasts, been adequately made good. After more 
than two years of unremitting experiment the company 
have placed upon the market records which will hold 
their own, if not surpass, any that have previously 
been brought before the public. To our knowledge 
they have scrapped thousands which they did not 
consider up to the mark, and from their well equipped 
factory at Hayes, nothing but the very best are issued. 
They have secured good artists, although the field has 
been somewhat restricted in consequence of other 
companies having enrolled the greatest of vocalists 
and instrumentalists, yet they have made a splendid 
start and we feel certain that, as time goes on, they will 
hold one of the most exalted positions in the talking 
machine world. 

Of cheap records one of the most popular of ah 1 is 
the Winner of J. E. Hough, Ltd., their annual 
output amounting on an average to 6,000,000, the 
present price being 2s. 6d. This go-ahead concern has 
now produced a higher priced record, the Velvet 
Faced (V.F.) in two sizes, 12 in. and 10 in., at 5s. 6d. 
and 3s. 6d. These are lovely discs with very little 
scratch. 

The Zonophone, which belongs, as we have already 
stated, to the Gramophone Company, is a wonderful 
record at 3s., celebrities such as Sir Harry Lauder and 
a few others being a shilling dearer. Regal are the 
property of the Columbia Company and are well worth 
the 2s. 6d. charged for them. The Coliseum, Scala, 
Popular and Guardsman records are also of the cheap 
variety. 

Since writing of the Edison disc in a previous chapter 
we have heard that these records are being imported 



THE BIG MANUFACTURING COMPANIES 83 

into this country in quantities and that they are much 
better than the first arrivals. Let us hope that this may 
be so, for those we listened to when first they made 
their appearance were atrocious. Edison has his 
idolaters we are not of them. 

An important phase, worth mentioning here, is that 
of the commercial phonograph, the most popular of 
which is the " Dictaphone," manufactured by the 
Columbia Graphophone Co., Ltd. The " Dictaphone " 
is a phonograph used by business men for direct dicta- 
tion, dispensing with the shorthand writer, the steno- 
grapher transcribing from the cylinder, which repeats 
what has been recorded. It is a modern time-saving 
device and its success is such that most shipping and 
railway companies, banks, and large commercial houses 
equip every department, some of them having forty or 
more " Dictaphones " installed in this way. This, 
curiously enough, is the only form in which the one-time 
universal cylinder record exists the disc proving 
unwieldy for this purpose. 



7 (1486E) 



CHAPTER VIII 

ARTISTS WHO MAKE RECORDS 

IN the very early days of the phonograph it was really 
a talking machine, for the first records of the human 
voice ever made were of speaking, not of singing. The 
congratulatory speech, or rather, message, of Mr. 
Gladstone to Edison on the success of the latter's great 
achievement was the kind of thing which did duty over 
and over again. It was unscrupulously imitated when 
the first cylinders became worn out, as they very rapidly 
did in those days before a hardening process was invented. 
Other great men were pressed into the service, and in 
quite recent years statesmen of the present day have been 
induced to make speeches into the recording horn. 

At first, however, it was difficult to get singers of note 
to record their voices. Sir Landon Ronald, the Prin- 
cipal of the Guildhall School of Music, who was an early 
enthusiast on behalf of the gramophone, has told in an 
interview of the trouble he had to get over the scruples 
of Ben Davies, our great English tenor. Davies 
laughed at the bare idea of singing into a tin trumpet, 
but at length Mr. Ronald, as he then was, prevailed 
upon him to make the experiment, and accompanied 
him to the recording room of the Gramophone Company. 
Treating the matter more as a joke than anything else, 
notwithstanding the fact that the fee was a substantial 
one, the brilliant singer took up his position in front of 
the horn and gave forth to the world at large one of 
his favourite ballads. If we mistake not, the song was 
" My Pretty Jane," and when the famous vocalist 
heard it presently come back to him through the horn 

84 



ARTISTS WHO MAKE RECORDS 



85 



he was electrified. That was many years ago, but 
Mr. Davies, well over sixty years of age, is still making 
records for the talking machine, in fact, he is on the 
exclusive list for the Columbia Company, and his 





By the courtesy of the Gramophone Co., Ltd. 
MADAME ADELINA PATTI 



beautiful voice, despite the lapse of time, is as clear as 
a bell. 

The immortal diva, Adelina Patti, for a long period 
set her lovely face dead against all temptations of the 
record, and it was not until her final retirement from the 
operatic stage that she consented to submit her marvel- 
lous notes to the judgment of posterity. It was in 1905 
that she chanced to hear some remarkable records by 
Caruso. She was then sixty-two and living privately 
with her husband at Craig-y-Nos, her charming castle 
in Wales. Though she had been frequently urged in 



86 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

the past to allow her voice to be impressed upon a disc 
she had consistently declined. The Caruso records, 
however, wrought a change in her. Suddenly, of her own 
accord, he sent to the Gramophone Company asking for 
arrangements to be made to have her voice recorded. 
The officials of the company were astonished, for they 
were well aware of her aversion to the talking machine, 
but they at once hastened to take advantage of her 
change of mind, lest, with a lady's privilege, she might 
change it again. The highly skilled recording expert 
of the firm, with assistants and musicians for the accom- 
paniments, together with all the necessary apparatus 
were dispatched to Wales without delay, and within a 
week several records were secured. It was a great 
triumph for the company. Besides many of her favour- 
ite operatic airs, she placed upon the blanks such old 
English, Scottish, Irish and American tunes as " Coming 
through the Rye " ; " Home, Sweet Home " ; " Kathleen 
Mavourneen " ; " The Last Rose of Summer " ; " The Old 
Folks at Home " ; " Robin Adair " and " Within a mile 
o' Edinboro' Town." The vibrations of the sound 
waves of these were imbedded in the wax and carried 
off victoriously to London to be transferred to the disc 
composition in which they will remain until the crack of 
doom. Still, it is only right to, state that, as the com- 
pany tell us in their illustrated catalogue, the art of 
recording the human voice has improved so rapidly 
since then that these records cannot with justice be 
compared with records of great artists which are now 
being issued. Nevertheless, they give a remarkably good 
idea of the richness and flexibility of Patti's notes. 

The earliest recordings of Caruso were made as far 
back as 1902, shortly after the famous Neapolitan had set 
all Italy ablaze with the wonder of his singing. No sooner 
did the news of this epoch-moving phenomenon reach 



ARTISTS WHO MAKE RECORDS 



87 



England than the Gramophone Company determined 
to make a capture of his voice at all hazards. Emissaries 
were appointed to proceed to Milan, where the new 
tenor was then appearing at La Scala, and the journey 
was undertaken in hot haste. These ambassadors were 
furnished with a full equipment for recording the 
voice, and were empowered to make terms with the 




By the courtesy of the 



Gramophone Co., Ltd. 



CARICATURE OF CARUSO MAKING A RECORD 
Drawn by himself 

great vocalist whatever they might be. It was an 
enterprise which must not be allowed to fail. They 
found Caruso a most amiable and genial young gentle- 
man quite willing to accede to their proposals for a 
consideration. That consideration was by no means a 
small one, but the emissaries having carte blanche 
everything was satisfactorily arranged, the tenor of 
tenors entered into an agreement to sing for no other 
recording company, and the agreement was most 
faithfully adhered to for twenty years. Caruso's notes can 
be heard on no other discs than those of " His Master's 



88 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

Voice." During the whole of that long period he 
made no fewer than 112 solos for the company, besides 
taking part in 32 duets, 4 trios, 6 quartets, 1 quintet 
and 2 sextets, 157 records in all. 

Dame Nellie Melba, the most gifted soprano of the 
later years of last century and, as far as they have gone, 
of this, has made a great many delightful records for the 
Gramophone Company. It has been complained by some 




By the courtesy of the Gramophone Co., Ltd 
DAME NELLIE MELBA 

that, in technical phrase, she does not record well, which 
means, of course, that her voice is not reproduced with 
that faithful adherence to the original which is required. 
That, we believe, to be a defect which can be easily 
explained. The clear, liquid limpidity of Melba's notes 
does not create such a disturbance of sound waves as 
those of a more dramatic and impassioned singer. The 
consequence is that the vibrations are more evenly 
marked upon the wax, which gives the impression to 
the listener of a lack of force and character. Melba, 



ARTISTS WHO MAKE RECORDS 89 

perhaps, possesses the purest soprano of any woman who 
ever sang. It is absolutely faultless in its clarity, but 
by reason of her nature she is of Scottish descent, 
though born near Melbourne, in Australia it has not 
the excessive warmth and brilliancy of colour which- 
belong to the voices of the daughters of the passionate 
lands bordering on the Mediterranean. Detached 
from the glamour which inevitably surrounds the 
stage Melba's notes sound a trifle cold, and hence to the 
ordinary person who listens to her records comes that 
slight feeling of disappointment. 

There is not a musician or singer who has attained any 
celebrity whose voice or playing is not more familiar 
to the gramophone enthusiast of to-day than it is to 
the wealthiest music-lover in the world who is without 
a talking machine. The gramophone user can always 
have his records beside him to listen to when he is in the 
mood. We have only mentioned the names of a few 
of the great singers whose voices have been recorded, 
but we can safely say that there is not one living vocal 
artist of note whose musical tones have not been 
enshrined within a disc. 

The Columbia Company have their own treasures in 
music. Dame Clara Butt is one of them, now recording 
only for Columbia. Stracciari, the great baritone, 
Barrientos, Stralia, Ponselle, the famous sopranos, are 
others. Among instrumentalists there are such honoured 
names as Pachmann and Busoni, pianists of the highest 
order, Ysaye, the veteran violinist, and Casals, indu- 
bitably the world's greatest 'cellist. Further, music 
lovers are indebted to Columbia for introducing chamber 
music, through the medium of the London String 
Quartet, on the gramophone. 

But one of the greatest Columbia achievements is in 
connection with orchestral works. They persuaded 



90 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

Sir Henry J. Wood to recant his previous objections to 
recording, and with his aid began to develop the inter- 
pretative side. Then followed Sir Thomas Beecham, 
Mr. Albert Coates with the London Symphony Orchestra, 
.and Mr. Hamilton Harty with the Halle Orchestra. 
These famous conductors have given us through 
Columbia new orchestral classics, including such works 
as " Scheherazade," " Le Chasseur Maudit " (The 
Accursed Hunter), Scriabin's " Poem of Ecstasy," 
" Siegfried Idyll," thus creating a new and higher 
standard in orchestral music alone. This, in itself, has 
gone far to secure recognition for the gramophone 
among scoffers and sceptics. 

If we were to give a list of all the " stars of 
the record world," however, which scintillate for the 
various manufacturers, we would require more pages of 
our handbook than time and space can afford. It would 
be well, nevertheless, to draw attention to the fact that 
records have been made by others than musicians. We 
have spoken elsewhere of Mr. Gladstone having made a 
record. He was the first of statesmen to submit his 
voice to the tender mercies of the recording needle, but 
in the long ago such performances were not too successful. 
Of late years, however, with all the new inventions, both 
in recording and in reproduction, the speech of a minister 
can be listened to with quite as much attention as if it 
were delivered in a hall. Mr. Asquith, Earl Balfour 
and Mr. Lloyd George have each made records, and we 
rather think Mr. Winston Churchill may be added to the 
list. Elocutionary efforts by popular actors have also 
been a feature of the gramophone. The talking record, 
as it is called, is by no means a rarity. The late Sir 
H. Beerbohm Tree made a few, and we remember an 
exceptionally funny one by that clever entertainer, now 
dead, Snazelle. Bransby Williams has recorded most of 



ARTISTS WHO MAKE RECORDS 91 

his recitations and sketches, and there are many 
others. 

Of actresses, as we think we have elsewhere men- 
tioned, Sara Bernhardt has had her beautiful tones 
immortalized in shellac, but the ladies of the dramatic 
stage generally do not seem to take so kindly to the 
recording horn as their sisters of the lyric or operatic. 
The best that we have heard is a powerful recitation by 
Constance Collier, " The Hell-gate of Soissons " ; but 
what a glorious treat it would be if somebody could 
persuade Miss Ellen Terry, while she is still in possession 
of all the beauty of her remarkable speaking voice, to 
make a record of her wonderful delivery of Portia's 
speech in the " Merchant of Venice." Posterity would 
thank her for it. 

The big manufacturing companies have given us the 
music of complete operas, so that a whole party can sit 
down in a drawing-room and listen to "II Trovatore " 
or " Faust " or "Lohengrin " from beginning to end 
with as much pleasure as if they were seated in a stall 
at the opera. The Pathe Company has even done better 
than that, for it has recorded Moliere's comedy of the 
" Malade Imaginaire " almost without a cut, and there 
is no reason why we should not have a Shakesperian play 
presented to us in the same way. At the present time 
the Gramophone Company are bringing out the whole 
series of Gilbert and Sullivan operas one by one, with 
fine casts. "The Mikado," "The Gondoliers," and 
" The Pirates of Penzance " have already been issued, 
and the others will follow in due course. The Columbia 
Company have sent their recording staff to Milan on 
separate occasions to secure complete performances of 
" Carmen," " Rigoletto " and " Aiida," as performed 
by the company of the famous La Scala Theatre. 
Such enterprises as these cost huge sums, but no amount 



92 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

is begrudged when an exact reproduction is to be 
obtained. Similarly, successful London musical plays 
are recorded by the original theatre artists for home 
enjoyment, and these have a great vogue. 

Experiments have been made in getting the notes of 
singing birds, but these have not been altogether success- 
ful, because you cannot get a bird to sing to order. You 
may catch a portion of his song fitfully, but you cannot 
be sure of him. Some years ago there was a fuss made of 
a certain American, Professor Garner, who was to go 
out to Central Africa with recording apparatus, live in 
a cage in the tropical forest and record the language 
of apes. Whether the expedition was successful 
or not we cannot say. But, if the monkey tongue, 
supposing it should exist, has not been recorded, 
almost every spoken language on the face of the earth 
has. The recording expert travels far, and, though his 
baggage is not quite so light as that of the photographer, 
he has succeeded in making valuable additions to 
philological and ethnological science. In this direction 
there is a vast field still open for scientific inquiry, and 
if some of the learned societies could find the money to 
prosecute research in remote lands and among little 
known peoples, the results would be most interesting. 
By language we might be able to trace the origins of 
races. 

The Japanese do quite an extensive trade with China 
by making Chinese records, and we believe Mr. Russell 
Hunting contrived to secure many excellent discs of the 
queer agglutinate tongue of the inhabitants of the 
Flowery Land during a brief sojourn there. The 
enterprising Japs are piercing into India, too, where they 
are making records of the various dialects, thereby 
casting a reflection upon our British industrial methods. 
There is wealth among the Hindus as well as poverty, 



ARTISTS WHO MAKE RECORDS 93 

and doubtless a considerable trade might be tapped by 
selling machines with native records. 

There is not a musical instrument which has not been 
brought under subjection by the recorder. Of late the 
Hawaiian ukalele, a species of guitar, said to have been 
introduced to the islands of the Pacific by the early 
Spanish missionaries, and adapted by the natives to 
their own requirements in the way of music, has become 
quite a cult among gramophone users. It emits a 
peculiar plaintive sound by sliding the finger up and down 
the strings while the right hand twangs an accompani- 
ment. Many of the best native performers have been 
in this country and made records, and the voices are 
strangely sweet. Several were engaged in a successful 
piece at the Prince of Wales's Theatre entitled " The 
Bird of Paradise," where their songs and playing attracted 
much attention. 

Since the war dancing has become, one might say, 
our most popular pastime, and the talking machine 
provides a ready means for supplying the music. On 
this account there has been a huge output of dance 
records, the abominable jazz taking the lead for a long 
time. Thank goodness this nuisance is being somewhat 
abated. There were records made from bands and 
orchestras which played nothing but this hideous 
importation from America, and all of them were faith- 
fully reproduced on discs. The poor reviewers of the 
trade organs were absolutely deafened by them. 

Before closing this chapter on record makers, it may not 
be out of place to mention a record which was made by 
an army and all its guns. The late Mr. Gaisberg of the 
Gramophone Company was permitted by the military 
authorities to approach within the lines during the bom- 
bardment of Lille for the purpose of recording the din 
of war. The result, however, was rather disappointing. 



CHAPTER IX 

GRAMOPHONE ASSOCIATIONS AND SOCIETIES 

FROM the earliest days of talking machine manufacture 
and distribution in this country the friendly rivalry 
(a notable feature of most new industries) existing 
between the various houses engaged in the trade was 
not conducive to the formation of a Trade Association. 
At social and other gatherings of the industry it was 
talked of, but there appeared to be no urgent necessity 
for it in those days, so no definite action was taken. The 
common trials and tribulations of the war period, how- 
ever, brought the talking machine manufacturers and 
traders more closely together and emphasized the need 
for concerted action. 

The difficulties of the trade in the years of war were 
immense. For a considerable period the gramophone 
was regarded by a certain section of the Government as 
a luxury, and it required the most strenuous exertions 
on the part of some of the leaders in the business to 
prevent the industry being relegated into the sorely 
tried position of a " luxury trade." For a time all 
effort seemed hopeless and the trade appeared to be 
doomed. Just then, however, when things were 
darkest, energetic action was taken by the British Music 
Trades Industry Committee, an emergency war-time 
organization, in the formation and conduct of which 
prominent members of the talking machine industry 
took part, notably Mr. M. E. Ricketts (then of the 
Gramophone Co., Ltd.), who acted as Honorary Secre- 
tary throughout its existence and did yeoman service. 
As a result of this collective representation the trade was 

94 



GRAMOPHONE ASSOCIATIONS AND SOCIETIES 95 

undoubtedly saved and adequate supplies of materials 
assured. 

When one looks back upon the active part that the 
gramophone played in bringing comfort and joy to the 
boys who were at the front, it is almost inconceivable 
that the Government should have adopted the attitude 
it did. However, that is all past and gone, but we must 
rot forget the men who upheld the rights of the trade 
that supplied the music which encouraged our devoted 
lads. 

It was apparent from the outset of the struggle to 
obtain recognition of the talking machine as a powerful, 
and indeed vital, force for the good of the nation and its 
preservers that the music trade was inefficiently 
organized, and the long talked of Association of Gramo- 
phone Manufacturers and Dealers took shape in the 
minds of the leaders of the industry. In the negotia- 
tions between the British Music Trades Industry Com- 
mittee and the Government on the question of supplies 
of material it was found that the musical instrument 
(small goods) makers had many interests in common 
with those of the talking machine trade. Consequently 
in the early months of the year 1918 Mr. M. E. 
Ricketts, Mr. Frank Samuel (Barnett, Samuel & Sons, 
Ltd.) and Mr. Walter B. Beare (Beare & Son) all young, 
vigorous men in the trade, called together a historic 
meeting at the Midland Grand Hotel, St. Pancras 
(then the headquarters of music trade activities). 
Representatives of leading houses in the talking machine 
and musical instrument (small goods) trades were 
invited and all attended. The proposed association met 
with spontaneous and unanimous approval, and the 
difficulty of securing a suitable and energetic organizer 
was overcome when Mr. Chas. E. Timms, also a young 
and active man with a life-long experience of the 



96 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

musical instrument trade, undertook the duties of 
Secretary. 

In addition to those already named as promoters of 
the preliminary arrangements for the formation of the 
Association, there were several other gentlemen well 
known in the trade. Of these we may mention Mr. 
H. J. Cullum (Messrs. Lockwoods & Perophone, Ltd.) ; 
Mr. M. F. Cooksey (J. Thibouville-Lamy & Co.) ; 
Mr. J. E. Hough (J. E. Hough, Ltd.) ; Mr. W. Manson 
(The Gramophone Co., Ltd.) ; Mr. Geo. Murdoch (The 
Murdoch Trading Co.) ; Mr. A. J. Stavridi (Craies & 
Stavridi) ; Mr. Louis Sterling and Mr. J. Van Allen 
Shields (Columbia Graphophone Co., Ltd.) ; Mr. Robert 
Willis (British Polyphon Co.), and Mr. E. C. Paskell 
(Colmore Depot, Birmingham). 

A draft constitution and rules were quickly evolved 
and approved ; an anticipated first season's membership 
of about fifty houses was, by energetic application, 
amplified into an actual original associate roll of 118 
houses, and on Tuesday, 25th June, 1918, The 
Association of Gramophone and Musical Instrument 
Manufacturers and Wholesale Dealers became an 
accomplished fact. The somewhat unwieldy nomen- 
clature came in for careful consideration and criticism, 
but it was finally decided that the wide interests of the 
society could not be covered under a more curtailed 
title. Of the founders of the Association, Mr. M. E. 
Ricketts was at the first general meeting unanimously 
elected as President, with Mr. Frank Samuel, Vice- 
President ; Mr. W. B. Beare, Hon. Treasurer, and Mr. 
C. E. Timms, Secretary. The Council of the Association 
is comprehensive and embraces every branch of the 
industry. At date (1921) it comprises 
Mr. W. B. Beare (Beare & Son). 
Mr. D. J. Blaikley (Boosey & Co.). 



GRAMOPHONE ASSOCIATIONS AND SOCIETIES 97 

Mr. M. F. Cooksey (J. Thibouville-Lamy & Co.). 

Mr. H. J. Cullum, M.B.E. (Perophone, Ltd.). 

Mr. Herbert W. Dawkins (Thos. Dawkins & Co., 
Ltd.). 

Mr. Geoffrey Hawkes (Hawkes & Son). 

Mr. J. E. Hough (J. E. Hough, Ltd.). 

Mr. A. G. Houghton (Houghton & Sons, Birming- 
ham). 

Mr. W. Manson (The Gramophone Co., Ltd.) 

Mr. A. J. Mason (Aeolian Co., Ltd.). 

Mr. Geo. Murdoch (Murdoch Trading Co.). 

Mr. E. C. Paskell (Colmore Depot, Birmingham). 

Mr. Frank Samuel (Barnett, Samuel & Sons, Ltd.). 

Mr. Louis Sterling (Columbia Graphophone Co., 
Ltd.). 

The Constitution of the Association provides that 
there shall be elected annually a President and a Vice- 
President (each alternately from the Gramophone and 
Musical Instrument Industries), a Treasurer and a 
Council which shall consist of the officers and eleven 
members of the Association, six representing the 
Gramophone Trade and five the Musical Instrument 
Trade. Provision is also made for the formation of 
sub-committees representing : (1) The manufacturers of 
gramophones and/or their accessories. (2) The manu- 
facturers of gramophone records. (3) Gramophone 
wholesale dealers. (4) The manufacturers of musical 
instruments and/or their accessories. (5) Musical 
instrument wholesale dealers. To these would be 
added by consent of the Council other sub -committees 
should occasion arise. 

Membership is open to any bona fide British company, 
firm or person engaged in the trades concerned and 
carrying on business within Great Britain and Ireland, 
subject to election by the Council. 



y THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

The objects of the Association are : " To promote, 
protect and secure the varied interests of manufacturers 
of, and wholesale dealers in, Gramophones, Musical 
Instruments and their Accessories, and to use every 
endeavour to obtain fair conditions and whole-hearted 
support for British Manufacturers and Wholesale 
Dealers." That these aims have been adequately 
fulfilled during the first three years of the Association's 
existence is shown by a resume of the more important 
questions dealt with by the Council in that period on 
behalf of the members. Taking a cursory glance through 
these we find prominently 

Safeguarding of supplies of materials in the post war 
period. 

Propaganda calling the attention of the whole of 
the Music Trade of this country to the menace of the 
proposed Luxury Tax and action to avert same. 

Employment of Disabled Soldiers and Sailors in 
the Industry. 

Railway Rates and Conditions. 
Import Duty. 
Merchandise Marks Act. 
Excess Profits Duty. 

Organization of, and support for, the Federation 
of British Music Industries. 

Music Trades Joint Industrial Council. 
British Music Industries' Scientific Research 
Association. 

Fraudulent Advertising of Gramophones, etc. 
Monthly Publication of Imports and Exports 
Statistics. 

Customs Drawback on Re-exportation. 
Imports from Germany. 
Trade Conditions in Germany. 
Music Trades School. 



GRAMOPHONE ASSOCIATIONS AND SOCIETIES 99 

British Industries Fair. 

British Music Convention. 

Net Sales Certificates Trade Press. 

The work of the Association is recorded in the trade 
Press and also in an " Association Newsletter " which is 
circulated to all members periodically. 

It is agreeable to state that the success of the Associa- 
tion is attributable to the indefatigable zeal and atten- 
tion of the clever Secretary, Mr. Chas. E. Timms, and it 
is certain that no Association or body of men banded 
together with a common object can be really successful 
unless there is one man with the driving power and the 
will and energy to devote to it. 

No sooner had the manufacturers and wholesale 
traders set their Association going on a solid basis than 
the retail dealers began to think about organizing. For 
some time there had been formed in the provinces 
various District Associations, but there was no central 
combinations and these scattered organizations had no 
coherency. Before the new plant took root much 
spade work was accomplished by Mr. S. N. Shand, of 
Stratford, London, who spared no labour on the scheme 
he had taken in hand. In an unobtrusive fashion he 
was well backed up by Mr. Robert Poulter, the manager 
of The Talking Machine News, the oldest and best 
gramophone trade organ in the world, who had also 
lent an untiring hand in the formation of the Gramo- 
phone and Musical Instrument and Wholesale Dealers 
Association. Eventually the new idea took shape and 
a first meeting was called for 22nd September, 1920. 
The attendance was most encouraging. Officers were 
then and there elected, Mr. Rasin Jones, of Manchester, 
being appointed President for the first year, with Mr. 
E. Marshall as Vice-President. The members of 
Committee were Messrs. Gerald Forty, S. E. Moon, 

8 (1466E) 



100 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

C. J. Price, J. H. Riley and F. E. Stokes, while Mr. 
S. N. Shand was unanimously elected Hon. Secretary. 

The first business, after the election of office-bearers, 
was to deal with the establishment of branches through- 
out the kingdom and the affiliation of existing organiza- 
tions The members present were most enthusiastic, 
and resolved upon adopting a personal campaign in 
their several districts for the purpose of augmenting 
membership. The nominal subscription was fixed at 
21s., to be sent to Mr. S. N. Shand, 150 The Grove, 
Stratford, London, E.15. 

The Association being so young we have not sufficient 
data to go upon to record its progress, but we understand 
that it is already in a very flourishing condition, and 
that many matters of great importance to the retail 
trade are being investigated and will ultimately be 
decided upon. 

The Federation of British Music Industries does not 
exactly come within our province to dilate upon, but it 
is well to observe that the gramophone industry is 
strongly represented therein, and that at all the con- 
ventions and meetings the talking machine interests are 
carefully looked after. With such a Chairman as Mr. 
Alexander Dow, whose knowledge and experience of 
every branch of the musical profession and trade is 
unequalled, the Federation has a man at its head of 
unique personality, embodying both culture and charm. 1 
The work of the Federation is educational and propa- 
gandist, and every British musician of note has identified 
himself with its objects. It wields a powerful influence 
over musical art in many directions, and this influence 
is beginning to make itself manifest in the keener 

1 Since this was written Mr. Louis Sterling, of the Columbia 
Gramophone Company, has succeeded Mr. Dow for a year. A 
big feather in the cap of the Talking Machine Industry. 



GRAMOPHONE ASSOCIATIONS AND SOCIETIES 101 

interest which is being taken in music by the nation at 
large. 

Some years ago it was felt by talking machine enthusi- 
asts that the instrument was not sufficiently known and 
understood. Societies were, therefore, inaugurated with 
the intention of inducing the public to form a deeper 
estimation of the invention. At- that time, it must be 
recollected, prejudice against what was derisively called 
" canned " music ran exceedingly high, and it was not 
altogether without reason, for some of the cheaper 
records and machines were atrociously bad (a few of 
them are so still, as anyone can find out for himself if he 
will take the trouble to walk through a poorer class 
neighbourhood of an evening). But these were not the 
instruments nor records which the societies were experi- 
menting with. They were going in for better things and 
were wishful to demonstrate the finest that had been 
manufactured. 

We are under the impression that the North London 
Gramophone and Phonograph Society was the first to 
be established, with that ardent and learned experi- 
menter, Henry Seymour, as President. We may be 
wrong, but our researches have not given us an earlier 
one. The long-continued feud between cylinder and 
disc adherents is nowhere so rancorous as among the 
members of the societies. Edison is worshipped 
as a super-man by certain communities, while the follow- 
ers of the needle-cut disc will have none of him. Of one 
thing, however, there can be little doubt, the gramophone 
people triumph over their opponents most mightily in 
the matter of artists. A gramophone society can put 
up a concert with all the picked voices of the world 
upon the programme, whereas the phonograph admirers 
have to be content with only those American performers 
who are not in the front rank of opera or platform. The 



102 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

phonograph supporters also labour under another 
disability. The whole of their records, cylinder or disc, 
have to come across from America, for they scorn 
every other make save that of the Great Panjandrum 
himself. 

Throughout the length and breadth of the land these 
societies are springing up, not only in the big towns, 
but in what our theatrical friends call " the smalls," 
and even in villages. The meetings are generally held 
once a month, when all the most recent issues from the 
record manufacturers are listened to and their merits 
discussed. New sound boxes, needles and other 
accessories are also tried over and pronounced upon. 
In short, the societies are composed of enthusiasts who 
allow nothing that is fresh to escape them. Many of 
the members are themselves inventors, who, by their 
connection with the societies, get their inventions tested. 
Whether this is an advantage or not is somewhat 
doubtful, for the doings are reported in the trade 
Press, and the publicity thus obtained may not always 
be for the benefit of the inventor. However, there can 
be no denying that the societies are doing a vast amount 
of good to the industry by their propaganda work, and 
we should be the very last to cavil at the spirit with 
which the members are imbued. 



CHAPTER X 

THE TALKING MACHINE AS TEACHER 

No less important authority than Sir Edward Elgar, 
O.M., has predicted for the gramophone a great future 
as an instructor of youth in music. We have already 
seen how it is thus employed in America, but we lag 
slowly behind. The ingrained conservatism of the 
Briton restrains him from advance. He hesitates and 
boggles at an innovation, whereas the more acute 
American grasps the situation and with far-seeing 
intelligence adapts it to his needs. The old and deeply 
rooted prejudice against the talking machine still 
obtains in the official mind, and however strong may be 
the efforts of the more liberal spirits, the educational 
authorities in many directions block the way. 

In spite of the opposition, however, there is a move- 
ment going on which may ultimately triumph over all 
obstacles and place our country on the same level that 
our friends across the Atlantic have gained. Canada has 
awakened to a sense of the educational advantages 
which can be reaped by a practical use of the talking 
machine as teacher, and is introducing it into many 
schools of the Dominion. The governing bodies there, 
being in closer proximity to the United States, have 
viewed with observant eyes' the benefits derived from the 
employment of the gramophone as a training factor 
among the children, with the result that, unless we 
actively bestir ourselves, the motherland will find herself 
outstripped in musical knowledge by her own offspring. 
This is lamentable, but it is perfectly true, and we have 
nothing to blame but the obduracy of our officialdom. 

103 



104 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

Sir Edward Elgar has urged upon those having charge 
of the young, and Mr. Percy A. Scholes has written in 
a booklet published by the Gramophone Company, 
addressed to teachers, the duty of instruction in that 
very important point, Learning to Listen. It is the 
title of Mr. Scholes's brochure, and in the introduction, 
Dr. John Adams, Professor of Education at the Univer- 
sity of London, dwells upon the importance of music 
in any scheme of education. Appreciation is the first 
principle in the knowledge of music, and the talking 
machine is the only instrument through which apprecia- 
tion can be instilled into the mind, for it is the only 
instrument that can play all music. In his preface Mr. 
Scholes quotes Dr. Eliot, of Harvard, to the effect that 
the true understanding of music is " one of the best 
means of developing the human child, of drawing out 
its latent powers, and cultivating the human spirit." 
Hitherto, according to Mr. Scholes, musical education has 
been limited to making the child acquainted with only 
such music as it can perform itself or as on rare occasions 
can be performed for it. The talking machine has 
changed all that. 

The other day Sir Edward Elgar said that he looked 
forward to the time when no school would be deemed 
complete without its proper number of gramophones. 
Surely Sir Edward's dictum should have some weight 
with county councils, for, besides being our greatest 
living British composer, he has given much time and 
thought to the subject of education. 

Among other things of much interest in the little 
book by Mr. Scholes are several programmes of music 
which can all be played to a class on a gramophone. 
There are parts of the country, too, where no concerts 
in the ordinary sense can be heard either by children 
or adults, and for such districts the various lists of the 



THE TALKING MACHINE AS TEACHER 105 

works of great composers which he gives are useful in 
showing how appreciation can gradually be acquired 
by the use of a good machine and high-class records. 

It is this learning to appreciate the best of music, not 
mere technical ability to play a piano, a violin or any 
other manipulatory instrument, that cultivates the mind, 
and Sir Edward Elgar is quite in agreement with this. 
Of course, there must be work as well if the child is to 
become an instrumentalist, but such work will be much 
more easy if the basis has been laid by the talking 
machine. In a letter to Lord North cliffe, Paderewski, 
the renowned pianist, wrote : " Education by good 
music is essential to the mind development of children 
in every country, and I should like to see a gramophone 
and a good selection of ' His Master's Voice ' records 
in every school." 

And now, having mentioned " His Master's Voice " in 
this connection, we must congratulate the Gramophone 
Company upon the very active steps the great firm is 
taking in promoting this form of musical education . The 
propaganda initiated by them, growing stronger every 
day, is bound to have a marked influence upon the 
community at large. By literature of an easily grasped 
character, by lectures, not too technical, and by the issue 
of a graduated series of records the company is fighting 
their way through all opposition. They have constructed 
a strong-built machine for use in schools, which is sold 
at the not too exorbitant price of 25, and they assist 
in every way the teachers who have to demonstrate to 
the little learners the truths and beauties of the art 
which is being unfolded to them. 

Beyond the point of imparting a taste for good 
music it is impossible for the gramophone to go. It 
simply takes the place of the singer, the instrumentalist 
and the orchestra, but we must remember how few 



106 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

children are in a position to hear the best of these 
except through the talking machine. It is amazingly 
democratic. At a comparatively small cost the off- 
spring of the poor can obtain as much pleasure in music 



OPEN 



CLOSED 




By the courtesy of the Gramophone Co., Ltd. 

"HIS MASTER'S VOICE" GRAMOPHONE FOR SCHOOLS 

as the heirs and heiresses of the rich, but that pleasure 
can only come through a course of instruction, unless 
the child be abnormally gifted. In the old days opera 
was a sealed book to most of the people, because of the 
prices charged, and in consequence the masses never 
acquired a taste for it. A few of the old airs from 
" Maritana " or the " Bohemian Girl " was all that 



THE TALKING MACHINE AS TEACHER 107 

reached them through solo singers on the platform or by 
the medium of sheet music, from which it was painfully 
strummed by amateurs on cheap pianos. Those days 
have gone. The gramophone brings real music into the 
home, though we must confess that we have no sympathy 
with a good deal of it. Much stuff is placed upon records 
which cannot be classed as music in the strict sense, 
and many machines are sold to the unwary which do 
not deserve the name of gramophone. These remarks, 
however, do not apply to " His Master's Voice." All 
goods which bear the famous trade-mark may be 
indisputably relied upon for quality and value. 

There was perhaps as much indignation felt by some 
of the " heads " at Eton when Mr. Basil Johnson, the 
principal music master, proposed the introduction of 
a gramophone as animated Jennie Geddes, the old 
Scotswoman, when she heard the organ in the kirk and 
threw her stool at the minister's head. But Mr. 
Johnson had his way and a talking machine was installed, 
thereby setting an example to all the other public 
schools of Great Britain. We understand that Winches- 
ter, Repton and Oundle have already followed in the 
footsteps of Eton, and it is not improbable that, before 
this little book is published, all the great schools of 
England, Scotland and Wales will be provided with 
instruments. 

In Wales, as was to be expected from such a musical 
nation, the movement is making headway with gigantic 
strides. This is chiefly owing to the efforts of Dr. 
Walford Davies, than whom the gramophone has no 
more strenuous advocate. Few men are more honoured 
in the Principality, or out of it, than the organist of the 
Temple Church, who is now Professor of Music in the 
University of Wales and Director of Music in Welsh 
Schools. His views are that each of the 1,800 Welsh 



108 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

elementary schools should have its gramophone, and 
he is also organizing the formation of record libraries. 
Dr. Davies is an authority who commands respect, 
and his advice prompts instant consideration. In Wales 
the seeds of his utterances fall upon fruitful ground, 
for, like all Celts, the Cymric are essentially an intensely 
musical people and respond with enthusiasm to any 
suggestion of education in music. Of the four races 
which are comprised in the British Isles none is so 
advanced musically as the Welsh, and it is only natural 
that the propaganda of Dr. Davies should meet with a 
favourable reception. Thus, when the Professor was 
entertained to luncheon by the Rotary Club of Swansea, 
he gave a short lecture-recital on the gramophone 
to the members. There were present fifty-five business 
men keenly interested in every word which fell from the 
Doctor's lips. As he concluded his lecture Dr. Davies 
asked those who recognized the educational value of the 
gramophone to write to him for lists of suitable records 
for home study. To his surprise and satisfaction the 
applicants numbered sixty-two, showing that the 
Professor's appeal in the good cause had spread beyond 
the confines of the Rotary Club. 

The Gramophone Company are efficiently backing up 
Dr. Davies's efforts by providing school machines and 
special records, so that Wales, as heretofore, will con- 
tinue to maintain a priority in music unless strong 
endeavours are made in other directions. 

Many persons are constantly referring to what they 
call the " good old days." We know very well that in 
almost every respect they were extremely bad old 
days, but we cannot gainsay the fact that, say in 
the spacious days of Queen Elizabeth, the common 
people, appallingly ignorant though they might have 
been, were more light-hearted and joyous than we are 



THE TALKING MACHINE AS TEACHER 109 

to-day. Their folk-songs, their glees and madrigals 
point to it, and these bring us at a single step to the 
folk dances. 

All English musicians know the interest Mr. Cecil 
Sharp takes in these matters. He has travelled the coun- 
try round picking up odd snatches of ancient ditties 
in out of the way nooks and corners of the land ; he 
has made friends with strange, eccentric village charac- 
ters to get hold of a few bars of some old tune which 
they alone knew, and he has witnessed queer jigs and 
reels in places where the same dances were in vogue 
500 years ago. It is the darling wish of his heart to 
see those old dances re-introduced through the school- 
children of our time. And why not ? They were a 
thousand-fold more innocent than the tangos and 
fox-trots and bunny-hugs which have been brought here 
from the dancing saloons of the New York Bowery. 
The music to which our forefathers and foremothers 
footed it so bravely was infinitely preferable to the 
discordant abominations of jazz. The old " contra " 
dances, perverted into " country," of which the " Hay- 
makers," the original of Sir Roger de Coverley, is a fine 
ensample, gave health and joy to the lads and lasses 
a joy that is not experienced in the stifling ball-rooms 
of the town. Why, then, should not Mr. Sharp's 
wish be fulfilled ? Many of the old tunes, arranged 
by him, have been recorded and published, and 
with efficient teachers we could have our children 
instructed in them to the benefit of their health and 
morals. 

We have spoken elsewhere of the teaching of 
languages by means of the gramophone, and we under- 
stand that this system is going ahead with considerable 
force. Messrs. Pathe Freres issue many discs made 
from the speaking voices of the best enunciators in 



110 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

French, Spanish and other European tongues. By this- 
method a correct accent can be imparted to the pupils 
without the intervention of a master or mistress. The 
lessons, we believe, are graduated from the simplest 
sentences until they reach the conversational stage. 
Other companies, too, produce records of the same 
character, and Messrs. Funk and Wagnall, the educa- 
tional publishers, have an American machine and 
records adapted to this system of instruction. 

The amplification of sound for the purpose of filling 
large halls or for outdoor uses has engaged the attention 
of many inventors. There is the Naturafone, an excellent 
machine, the invention of our good friend Mr. Crowe, 
a son of the late Gwyllym Crowe, the waltz composer and 
conductor, several years ago, of the promenade concerts 
at Co vent Garden. This instrument depends upon 
the construction of the sound box for its increase of 
volume. Then there is the Stentorphone, a huge 
machine, in which compressed air is forced through the 
tone-arm. Both these, however, are completely cast 
in the shade by the Magnavox or Telemegaphone, an 
electric contrivance from America which has just found 
its way to this country. This can be used either with a 
gramophone, or simply by a public speaker talking into 
a mouthpiece like that of a telephone. The sound can 
be regulated by the turning of a switch, and so great is 
its power that the human voice in certain conditions of 
the atmosphere has been heard at a distance of seven 
miles. It was much in evidence during the last 
presidential election in the States, and it ought to 
be useful for candidates at the next general election 
in the United Kingdom. The agents here are the 
Johnson Talking Machine Company, of Tottenham 
Court Road. 

As we began by saying that the Talking Machine is 



THE TALKING MACHINE AS TEACHER 111 

only in its infancy, so we conclude. There are vast 
possibilities for it as yet undiscovered, and when all 
avenues have been explored it may happen that the 
instrument will be found useful to man in ways as yet 
undreamt of. 



( APPENDIX 

AFTER due consideration, we have come to the con- 
clusion that the industry is at last bestirring itself. 
It has had rather a protracted period of somnolence 
from which it has only now begun to awaken. Since 
the body of this little work was written, changes have 
taken place in many respects which show that the 
infant is progressing more rapidly than in the past. 
Further discoveries in the properties of sound have 
been exercising with striking results the brains of 
scientists. Revolutionary inventions have been making 
their appearance, which in all probability will neces- 
sitate great alterations in the construction and look of 
the talking machine. 

Foremost among the latter will be found to-day the 
novel contrivances of Mr. Pemberton Billing. This 
singularly ingenious gentleman has been experimenting 
for a long time upon improvements in the gramophone 
and has taken out several patents. For the exploita- 
tion of these, a company has been formed under the 
designation of the " World Record, Limited," with an 
extensive and well-equipped factory at Chiswick. 

The new record comprises many startling changes in 
the character of the disc, although the general appear- 
ance remains the same. By a controlling device which 
may be attached to any machine, the record plays 
several songs, instrumental solos, or orchestral selec- 
tions, as the case may be, on one side. This economizes 
space, and naturally the reproduction lasts much longer 
in performance than with ordinary records. The first 
issue of these compendious discs was only placed upon the 
market in October last (1922), so that there has not 

112 



APPENDIX 113 

yet been sufficient time to judge of their reception by 
the public ; however, the sales already have proved 
abnormally large, and there is every sign that the new 
record has justified its existence. 

Ingenious as Mr. Pemberton Billing has shown him- 
self to be in his invention of the multiple record, he 
has by no means exhausted all his powers upon it. 
The " Trinity" gramophone is another novelty of his 
which the " World Record, Ltd.," has sprung upon us. 
As its name implies, it is actually three in one. In the 
first place, you see before you a solid-looking, well- 
polished concert-grand, with closed sound-doors. When 
a record is put on the turntable and the sound-doors 
opened, you listen as you would to any other gramo- 
phone ; but this is not all. After some slight manipula- 
tion of the winding-handle and tone-arm, a full-bodied 
table-grand is withdrawn and, if wanted, can be car- 
ried into another room or out into the garden. There 
is still, however, the third and last transformation to- 
take place. This is accomplished by taking a useful 
drawer away from the original concert-grand and 
fitting it on the top of the table-grand by means of 
certain clips for the purpose. It now becomes the 
" Picnic Portable," with a strong leather handle for 
carrying it about. The " Trinity " is certainly a 
marvel of ingenuity, and extraordinarily cheap at 
nineteen guineas. 

A third novelty marketed by the " World Record, 
Ltd.," is the " Vistavox." The great feature about 
this is the peculiarity of the sound-box and tone-arm,, 
which can hardly be explained without an illustration. 
It has, however, special tonal qualities to recommend 
it, and thus, we believe, a future is ensured for it. 

The C. H. Roberts Manufacturing Co., Ltd., of 
Camden Road, London, is a flourishing concern which 
has recently placed several valuable machines upon the 
market under the style and title of " Bestone." Their 
first venture was the " Bestone" Portable, which was 



114 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

the invention of Mr. C. H. Roberts, a gentleman who 
for years has been a keen gramophone enthusiast and 
inventor of many original devices. The " Bestone " 
Portable is a gramophone, the interior framework of 
which is made of aluminium, a metal which not only 
has excellent acoustic advantages, but is also imper- 
vious to climatic changes. Thus the model is as 
admirably adapted to the tropics as it is to frigid 
regions. 

The Roberts Company have also just brought out the 
" Bestone " Corner Cabinet, a gramophone which fits 
into a corner, and is incomparable in tone and quality. 
It is a beautiful specimen of the cabinet-maker's art, 
and may be had in oak, mahogany, or lacquer at prices 
ranging from thirty-five to sixty-five guineas. The 
company have at the same time issued a sound-box of 
superior make and finish at a guinea each. 

A great novelty from the same firm is the Boys' 
Gramophone Outfit, which enables a boy to build up 
his own table cabinet and, after playing, pull it to 
pieces again, no glue or tacks being required in the 
process. For ingenious youngsters this is a most 
enticing commodity. 

When a big corporation like the Chappell Piano Co., 
Ltd., which is known and esteemed throughout the 
whole world, become sole sales concessionaires for a 
new invention, it is a sure guarantee of its excellence. 
This is what has happened in the case of the Clifto- 
phone. The inventor of this very fine machine is a 
gentleman named Clifton, of great scientific attain- 
ments, who has devoted many years to the study of 
sound reproduction. After much labour, he has evolved 
a gramophone which may be looked upon as the very 
last word in talking machines. As might be expected 
from the work which has been bestowed upon.it, the 
Cliftophone exhibits certain valuable improvements. 
These have been achieved by means of alterations in 
the accessories rather than through changes in the 



APPENDIX 115 

actual machine. The sound-box is of a novel con- 
struction, being fitted with a compensating lever as the 
connection between the diaphragm and the stylus-bar, 
thus dispensing with that tendency to work loose and 
give a disagreeable rattle, which is the fault of some of 
the ordinary sound-boxes. In the Cliftophone sound- 
box there is absolutely no possibility of this loosening. 
Again, the " Twin Reed" composite diaphragm is an 
innovation which emerges triumphantly from all tests. 
It has been the result of countless experiments and, as 
a consequence, has reached the highest pinnacle of 
perfection in regard to the properties of diaphragms. 

Another remarkable feature of the Cliftophone is the 
tone-arm, with its continuation, the reproducing 
chamber. In this it has been the object of the inventor 
to make the reproduction truly realistic, and to that 
end he has introduced a special " articulation " or hinge 
for the tone-arm, which entirely prevents any " shake " 
or loss of motion, yet compels it to offer absolutely 
rigid resistance to the " drag" of the needle. Thus 
the whole of the music may be heard without the 
slightest loss. The tone chambers, too, have been so 
designed as to secure the melodious and rhythmical 
development of the music emitted by the sound-box 
until it reaches the ear of the listener. 

From unsolicited testimonials it would appear that 
the Cliftophone has succeeded in overcoming the pre- 
judices of hardened gramophone haters and in drawing 
forth the admiration of the most scientific sound 
specialists. 

As was said of old concerning books, so might it be 
repeated now with regard to sound-boxes : "Of the 
making of boxes there is no end." Why there should 
be this plethora of resonators is beyond our explana- 
tion, but to us it would seem as if every amateur 
artificer who had conceived some spite against the 
gramophone had forthwith started out to vent his 
spleen upon the instrument. The result of such 

9 (1466E) 



116 THE TALKING MACHINE INDUSTRY 

inexpert efforts is the production of an accessory calcu- 
lated to give the most acute tortures to the listener. 
A bad sound-box is worse than gout or toothache. 
It jars upon the auditory nerves and produces agony. 

That the Talking Machine Industry is making much 
more rapid strides in advancement than has been 
observable for several years is a fact which not even 
the most prejudiced of its detractors can deny. It has 
overcome all unreasonable prepossessions and anti- 
quated conservative bias by the soundness of its pro- 
positions and the strictly scientific principles upon 
which they have been carried out. 



WORLD RECORDS 

play continuously without attention 

from 3 to 5 times as long as any 

other Gramophone Record throughout 

the World 




On sale at all Musical Instrument Dealers 
and gramophone stockists, or obtainable, 
together with descriptive literature, from 

World Record, Ltd. 

Cromwell Works, Mortlake 
London, S.W.14 

West End Showrooms : 2 Piccadilly Arcade, London, W.I 

Telephone : Gerrard 2251 



INDEX 



AEOLIAN Co., Ltd., 79, 80, 81, 
82 
- vocalion, 79 

Air, 10 

Amenophis, 2 

America, education in, 1 

Amplification of sound, 110 

Apes, 92 

Association of Gramophone 
Manufacturers and Whole- 
sale Dealers, 95 

Asquith, Right Hon. H. H., 90 

Automaton, marvellous, 9 

BACON, Roger, 5 
Balfour, Earl, 90 
Band and orchestral records, 

64 

Barrientos, 90 
Beecham, Sir Thomas, 90 
Beka Co., 42 

Bell, Alexander Graham, 15, 22 
Bergerac, Cyrano de, 7 
Berliner, Emil, 32 
Bernhardt, Sara, 91 
Brewster, Sir David, 8 
British Association, 14 
Busoni, 90 

Butt, Dame Clara, 90 
Byron, 3 

CANADA, 103 

Caruso, 86 

Casals, Pablo, 90 

Celebrated case, a, 24 

China, 3 

Chinese records, 92 

Chladni, 11 

Churchill, Winston, 90 

Clarion Co., 32 

Coates, Albert, 90 

Collier, Constance, 91 



Columbia Co., 23, 41, 75, 76, 

77, 90 

Cros, Charles, 15 
Curious box, 5 
Cyrano de Bergerac, 7 

DACAPO Co., 42 
Davies, Ben, 84 

, Dr. Walford, 107 

Diaphragm, 48 
Dictaphone, 83 
Disc machine, 32 
Double-sided discs, 38 
Due de Leon, 12 
Duck, famous, 6 
Duhamel, 12 

EDISON, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21 

Bell, 25 

- factory in England, 31 
, United, 24 

Education, 103 

in America, 1 

- in Canada, 103 
Egypt, 2 
Eisenmanger, 12 
Electrotyping, 25 

El gar, Sir Edward, 103 
Emil Berliner, 32 
Eton, the gramophone at, 107 
Expiration of patents, 38 

FABER, 9 

Famous duck, 6 

Favourite Co., 42 

Federation of British Music 
Industries, 100 

Fenby, 15 

Fibre needles, 56 

First talking machine in Eng- 
land, 28 



118 



INDEX 



119 



Flute-player, mechanical, 6 
Folk songs, etc., 109 

GAISBERG, the late Mr., 93 

Galli-Curci, Mme., 19 

Garner, Professor, 92 

Gaskets, 49 

Gladstone, W. E., 28 

Gooseneck, the, 51 

Graduola, the, 80, 81 

Gramophone Co., Ltd., 38, 41, 
72, 85, 105 

Dealers' Association, 99 

, name of, 35 

Graphophone, the, 23 

- and Phonograph Socie- 
ties, 101 

HART, Sir Robert, 4 
Harty, Hamilton, 90 
Hawaiian ukalele and records, 

93 

Hawksbee, 10 
Hedgehog spines, 60 
Hedgerow thorns, 59 
Heifetz, Jascha, 65 
Horn and hornless machines, 

53 
Hough, J. E., Ltd., 82 

INFRINGEMENT of patent 
Gramophone Co. v. Ull- 
mann, 52 

JAPANESE, 92 

Jazz, 93 

John Wesley, 7 

KEMPELIN, 8 
Koenig, 13 
Kratzenstein, 8 
Kwang Tung, 4 

LANDON Ronald, Sir, 84 
Legal proceedings, 24 
Leon Scott, 12 
Lichtenberg, 11 
Linguaphone, 41 



London String Quartette, 90 

MAGNAVOX, 110 
Magnus, Albertus, 6 
Making a record, 62 
Manufacture of munitions by 

Gramophone Co., Ltd., 75 
Manufacturing a disc, 69 
Marvellous automaton, 9 
Master, the, 24 
Mechanical flute-player, 6 
Melba, Dame Nellie, 88 
Memnon, 2 
Michaelis, Dr., 34 
Motors, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48 

NAME talking machine, 1 
National Phonograph Co., 39 
Needles, 54, 55, 56 
Needle tension attachment, 58 
Neophone, the, 35 

ODEON records, 39 

PACHMANN, 90 

Paderewski, 105 

Patents of phonograph by 

Edison, 22 

Pathe Freres, 35, 77, 78, 91 
Patti, Adelina, 85 
Pausanius, 3 
Ponselle, 90 
Philip Reiss, 15 
Phonautograph, 12 
Phonaugraph, the name, 15 
Photophone, the, 36 
Primitive man, 1 
Prince Consort, 14 

QUEEN Victoria, 14 

RECORDING machine, 68 

- the guns at Lille, 93 
Reiss, Philip, 13 
Reproduction of sound, 13 
Ricketts, M. E., 95 
Ronald, Sir Landon, 84 
Rotary club, 108 



120 



INDEX 



SANCTUM sanctorum of the 

recorder, 66 
Sapphire, diamond and glass 

points, 60 
Scholes, Percy, 104 
Scott, Leon, 13 
Seymour, Henry, 13 
Sharp, Cecil, 109 
Shellac, 70 

Shorthand Record Co., 41 
Singing birds, 92 
Snazelle, 91 
Sound, 10 

- boxes, 48 

- waves, 11 
Spear-point needles, 60 
Sphinx, the, 2 
Sponge, wonderful, 7 
Sterling, Louis, 39 
Strabo, 3 
Stracciari, 90 
Stralia, 90 

Stylus bar, 49 

Synchronization with kine- 
matograph, 37 

TACITUS, 2 

Tainter, Charles Sumner, 23 

& Bell, 24 

Talking machine, name, 1 



Telephone, first, 15 

Terry, Ellen, 91 

Thebes, 2 

Timms, Chas. E., 95 

Tone-arm, 52 

Tree, Sir H. Beerbohm, 90 

Tungsten needles, 60 

Tyndall, 11 

ULLMANN, C. & J., 39 
Ukalele, 93 

VASTERLOCK, 7 
Vaucanson, 6 
Vibratory diaphragm, 14 
Victoria, Queen, 14 

WAR between Edison Bell and 

Edison United, 40 
Welsh schools, 107 
Wesley, John, 7 
Williams, Bransby, 91 
Willis, Percy, 28 
Wonderful sponge, 7 
Wood, Sir Henry J., 90 

YEAR of great events, 39 
Ysaye, 90 

ZONOPHONE Co., the British, 39 



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PITMAN 'S 

COMMON COMMODITIES AND INDUSTRIES 
SERIES 



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Rubber. 

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Copper. 

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Coal. 

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Cotton. 

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Tobacco. 

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Salt. 

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Zinc and Its Alloys. 

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21 



Common Commodities Series Contd. 



Knitted Fabrics. 

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JAMES H. QUILTER. 
Cordage and Cordage Hemp. 

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KILGOUR. 
Carpets. 

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Asbestos. 

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Photography. 

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Acids, Alkalis, and Salts. 

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Silver. 

By B. WHITE. 
Electricity. 

By R. E. NEALE, B.Sc. (Hons.). 
Butter and Cheese. 

By C. W. WALKER TISDALE 

and JEAN JONES 
Faints and Varnishes. 

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Aluminium. 

By G. MORTIMER, M.Inst.Met. 
Gold. 

By B. WHITE. 
Stones and Quarries. 

By J. ALLEN HOWE, O.B.E., 

B.Sc., M.I.M.M. 
Lead. 

By J. A. SMYTHE, Ph.D., D.Sc. 
The Clothing Industry. 

By B. W. POOLS, M.U.K.A. 
Modern Explosives. 

By S. I. LEVY, B.A., B.Sc. 
Anthracite. 

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The British Corn Trade. 

By A. BARKER. 
Engraving. 

By T. W. LASCELLES. 
Telegraphy, Telephony, and 

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The Raw Materials of Perfumery. 

By ERNEST J. PARRY, B.Sc. 
Cold Storage and Ice Making. 

By B. H. SPRINGETT. 
The Electric Lamp Industry. 

By G. ARNCLIFFE PERCIVAL. 



Gloves and the Glove Trade. 

By B. E. ELLIS. 
The Jute Industry. 

By T. WOODHOUSE and P. 

KILGOUR. 
The Film Industry. 

By DAVIDSON BOUGHEY. 
The Cycle Industry. 

By W. F. GREW. 
Drugs in Commerce. 

By J. HUMPHREY, Ph.C., 

F.J.I. 
Cotton Spinning. 

By A. S. WADE. 
Sulphur. 

By H. A. AUDEN, D.Sc. 
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By B. WHITELEY. 
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By ALEC. B. STEVEN. 
Alcohol. 

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Internal Combustion Engines. 

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Velvet. 

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Concrete. 

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M.I.M.E., A.M.LE.E. 
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Sponges. 

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Incandescent Lighting. 

By S. I. LEVY, B.A., B.Sc. 
Oil for Power Purposes. 

By SIDNEY H. NORTH. 
The Fishing Industry. 

By DR. W. E. GIBBS. 
Starch and Starch Products. 

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Talking Machines. 

By O GIL VIE MITCHELL. 



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